For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"When ‘life itself’ goes to work: Reviewing shifts in organizational life through the lens of biopower"

by Fleming, Peter (2014)


This review article suggests the English publication of Foucault’s lectures on biopower, The Birth of Biopolitics (2008), might be useful for extending our understandings of how organizational power relations have changed over the last 20 years. Unlike disciplinary power, which constrains and delimits individuals, the concept of biopower emphasizes how our life abilities and extra-work qualities ( bios or ‘life itself’) are now key objects of exploitation – particularly under neoliberalism. The term biocracy is introduced to analyse recent reports on workplace experiences symptomatic of biopower. Finally, the conceptual weaknesses of biopower for organizational theorizing are critically evaluated to help develop the idea for future scholarship.


Foucault, Biopower, Organisational Power, Power, Organisational Theory, Management Studies


On Foucault, Organisation and Management Studies

Links to Reference



How to contribute.