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William Walters

Foucault and governmentality studies; Migration, borders and security; (international) political sociology

Degrees:BSc (London) MA (CUNY) PhD (York)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2790
Office:C673 Loeb Building


I am a Professor at Carleton University, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Political Science and the Department of Sociology/Anthropology. I was trained as a chemist (BSc, Imperial College, Univ. of London) before switching into politics (MA, CUNY Graduate Sch.; PhD York Univ., Toronto). I have published widely in the areas of citizenship studies, the political sociology of states and international government, the geopolitics of borders and migration, and minor theories of political power and contestation. My major publications include the book Unemployment and Government: Genealogies of the Social [CUP 2000], a co-authored volume (with J.H. Haahr) Governing Europe [Routledge 2005], and the co-edited collection (with W. Larner) Global Governmentality [Routledge 2004]. Most recently I have published Governmentality: Critical Encounters [Routledge 2012]. My work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Polish and Finnish. Presently I sit on the international advisory boards of Economy & Society and Materiali Foucaultiani.

I am presently engaged in two major research projects. The first asks what is a public, how are publics assembled, and what is the relationship between publicization and politicization? Focusing on the controversial use of drones in the global ‘war on terror’, the project questions if a better account of publics can enhance our understanding of the contentious politics of security and the prospects for a more democratic future. The second project draws upon my longstanding interest in migration and politics, but shifts the focus from borders to passages. Of course, all human migration involves journeying in some form or another. But not all journeys and not all routes are accorded the same degree of political attention. Under the provisional heading of ‘viapolitics’ this project examines how the journey has come to occupy an absolutely vital and strategic place in political struggles over migration.

For further details about my interests and publications, and to download papers, chapters, etc., go to

Selected Publications

Walters, W. (2012) Governmentality: Critical Encounters, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Walters, W. (2010) ‘Deportation, Expulsion, and the International Police of Aliens’, in N. de Genova and N. Peutz (eds), The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement, Durham (NC): Duke University Press, 69-100. [Slightly revised version, originally published in Citizenship Studies, 2002].

Walters, W. (2010). ‘Anti-Political Economy: Cartographies of “Illegal Immigration” and the Displacement of the Economy’, in J. Best and M. Paterson (eds) Cultural Political Economy, London: Routledge, 113-138.

Walters, W. (2006) ‘Border/Control’, European Journal of Social Theory, 9(2): 187-204

Walters, W.* and Haahr, J.H. (2005) Governing Europe: Discourse, Governmentality and European Integration, London: Routledge, p. 177.

Larner, W. and Walters, W. (2004) Global Governmentality: Governing International Spaces, London: Routledge, p. 261.

Walters, W. (2004) ‘Secure Borders, Safe Haven, Domopolitics’ Citizenship Studies, 8(3): 237-260. Republished in P. Nyers (ed.) (2008) Securitizing Citizenship, London: Routledge, 2009.