Governmentality as a Lens for Analysing Agricultural Restructuring in Australia

  • Patrick O’Keeffe


The case of Australian wheat marketing policy, across the past 30 years, is a particularly interesting one. Rather than conceptualising deregulation in terms of a simple absence of regulation, I draw on governmentality research and its associated analysis of how governmental technologies of agency and performance have been employed to make society amenable to governing. Sociology of quantification research also offers a useful approach here, as a lens for analysing how Australian farmers and farming have been made calculable, and administerable. This chapter draws together the sociology of quantification research, in conjunction with governmentality literature, to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the neoliberalisation of Australian farming. As I suggest, quantification of social phenomena makes society, including industries such as farming and people such as farmers, amenable to governing. However, technologies of government, such as audit, performance measures, benchmarking and agency, help operationalise the rationalities of markets, firms, and individuals.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick O’Keeffe
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Global, Urban & Social StudiesRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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