Jonathan Xavier Inda
University of Illinois


This text posits the relevance of addressing modernity as an ethnographic object, that is, to examine it from situated discourses and practices. Such an ethnography draws on a Foucaultian approach with governmentality as a key category. From this perspective, an approach is put forward examining three analytical dimensions of modernity. First, the reasons of government —this dimension joins together all those forms of knowledge, expertise and calculation enabling us to look at human beings as susceptible of being politically programmed. Second, there are the ruling techniques —the scope of technique covers the practical mechanisms, the instruments and programmes through which the various authorities intend to inform and instrumentalize human behavior. Finally, there is the category of government individuals —this dimension covers the distinct types of individual and collective identity arising from and at the same time supporting the governmental activity.

Keywords: Modernity, governmentality, anthropologies of modernity, ethnography, Foucault.