Forced governmentality: From technology to techne

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‘Success replaces legitimacy’ (Foucault, 2004). This assertion serves as the premise for this paper, exploring corporations that accept responsibility—or are being forced to take responsibility—for certain public issues because they are successful and, therefore, are seen as legitimate actors in the defence of individual rights in the digital age. Specifically, this paper extends the theoretical utility of applying a Foucauldian perspective of governmentality to the corporation, as set out in Collier and Whitehead’s (2021) Corporate Governmentality: Building the Empirical and Theoretical Case. In particular we seek to extend one of the Collier and Whitehead’s proposed typologies: forced governmentality. Using the Foucauldian analytical language of governmentality, it is possible to illuminate aspects of corporate governmental ambition that were previously unavailable through the current discourses. The crux of the issue consists of modern technologies that create governmental problems but are governed by the companies that created them. Consequently, the private sector actors that contribute to the creation technological problems are being forced to manage related action spaces. Using Facebook as a case study, this paper identifies the characteristics of forced governmentality through a critical reading of Mark Zuckerberg’s Blueprint for Content Governance and Enforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-882
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Early online date04 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2023


  • Corporate governmentality
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Facebook
  • Forced Governmentality
  • Foucault
  • Governmentality
  • Social Media
  • Speech practice


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