This article examines Michel Foucault’s contributions to the study of power in the history of political economy. It employs Foucault’s readings on economic thought to investigate two moments in the history of political economy: classical political economy and Keynesian economics, in which economic reasoning and practice affected the creation and dissemination of power relations in the social realm. By reconsidering the ontological dynamics that encompass the modern role of the state, economic policies and civil society, the article explores how power displays a changing face in light of different discursive and non-discursive elements throughout the history of political economy, in which “economic knowledge” and “scientific discourses” are reconceived as political apparatuses. The article concludes how a closer look into Foucault’s historical ontology allows for a reassessment of the field of action of political economy, showing its consequences in the political field, in the interpretation of historical facts and in the analysis of power/truth. More specifically, how moments in the history of political economy can be reconsidered not simply as systems of economic ideas, but as political apparatuses that create power.
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- history of political economy
- Michel Foucault