RECON Online Working Paper 2010/08

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European Governmentality or Decentralised Network Governance?

The Case of the European Employment Strategy 


Kolja Möller (University of Bremen)



In the European Employment Strategy (EES) the EU applies the so-called 'Open Method of Coordination' (OMC). In the academic literature it is stylized as a focal point for decentralised modes of governance. But drawing on Michel Foucault’s governmentality approach the OMC does not seem to represent an innovative governance tool but a governmental system of power. The OMC installs a 'regime of truth' which privileges only labour market regulations that rely on activation policies. The governmentality approach elucidates the European Employment Strategy from the standpoint of Foucauldian power analytics and puts its different techniques of government in a context.


Employment Policy – European Employment Strategy – European Governance – Governmentality – Michel Foucault – Open Method of Coordination

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