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Diversity Management and Gender Mainstreaming as Technologies of Government

  • Elisabeth Prügl (a1)


Diversity management and gender mainstreaming can be considered technologies of government in the Foucaultian sense; that is, they are technologies that guide people to conduct themselves in a particular manner; their purpose is the “conduct of conduct.” This article illustrates the value of applying a Foucaultian “analytics of government” to generate insights on the effects of inserting feminist knowledge into institutional contexts through the practices of gender mainstreaming and diversity management. I first reinterpret these strategies as technologies of government that meet the characteristics identified in the literature on governmentality. Second, I explore the liberal rationality of the contemporary apparatus of gender by juxtaposing it to the disciplinary rationality underlying efforts to govern women at the turn of the nineteenth century. Third, I tease out similarities and differences in the way in which diversity management and gender mainstreaming operate, emphasizing, in particular, the way in which they make difference productive and outlining how one deploys a neoliberal logic and the other a bureaucratic logic. Ultimately, I argue that governance feminism should be interpreted as the governmentalization of feminist knowledge; that is, feminist knowledge has been adapted so that it becomes available for the government of conduct.



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