Inter-governmentality: A framework for analysis

Academic chapter/article/Conference paper

This chapter explores the analytical purchase of the governmentality-framework when applied to interactions between polities before the early modern period, what I refer to as inter-governmentality. Starting from the assumptions that: (1) governmentality (historically understood) was always entangled with globality and (2) that governmentality (heuristically understood) can be studied in polities other than the modern state, the chapter establishes a heuristic analytical apparatus for the study of the relation between non-state governmental apparatuses. By being explicitly analytical, the conceptual vocabulary of governmentality allows us to make sense of logics and practices of government across time and space, without assuming sameness. The conceptual apparatus of inter-governmentality (or the analytics of government) provides three clear and interrelated benefits. First, and most importantly, it provides an explicitly analytical framework to the academic subfield of Historical International Relations where the distinction between analytical and practical concepts is central, but often hard to get around. Second, it can direct attention at overlooked issues, such as gift-giving and marriage practices, and help bring meaning to practices which do not make sense to the modern eye. Third, it offers potential coherence to already ongoing research, by suggesting an overarching and integrative analytical framework.