Domenico Talia

The disciplinary power of digital governmentality



The relationship between the forms of knowledge and the mechanisms of power has characterized every era of human history, although each time this relationship has taken on different forms. The exercise of authority has never been totally separated from the ways of thinking and knowing of the time in which they were employed. In his studies on the mechanisms of exercise of power and on the government of people and societies, the French philosopher Michel Foucault introduced the concept of governmentality with the aim of recalling the link between governing (gouverner) and the way of thinking (mentalité), the relationship therefore between the mechanisms of power and government and the forms of rationality that organizes them. In recent years, the exercise of power, the management of people’s freedom, biopolitics and therefore also governmentality, as it was proposed by Foucault, have recorded the birth and growth of an eloquent and increasingly relevant relationship with the widespread use of digital technologies by people, companies and States. This recent relationship is put in place through the ways in which information technology is transforming the relationships between individuals and between them and the governing bodies of public and private lives. This article aims to analyze the relationships between digital technologies (e.g., algorithms, big data, Internet, social media, and artificial intelligence) and governmentality and the scenarios that these relationships are defining. This current context can be described through the concept of «digital governmentality» which must be understood as a complex modality that defines procedures, practices, analyzes, and calculations for the delimitation and management of the government of people through digital systems that are made up of algorithms, software, protocols and sophisticated data processing and machine learning procedures that concern and manage every human activity. The article analyzes the forms of digital governmentality and discusses its effects in the exercise of power through It apparatus, tools and devices.


  • Digital Power
  • Governmentality
  • Information Technology
  • Big Data
  • Artificial Intelligence


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