Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Lawrence A. Scaff


I explore parallels within the work of Hannah Arendt, Jürgen Habermas, and Michel Foucault. I examine the unexamined connections and commonalities among the works of these three preeminent political theorists with the aim of understanding our common, contemporary construction of "the political." Specifically, I examine the way that each of these theorists describes a condition wherein the very concept of "the political" has undergone significant changes. I demonstrate how these thinkers converge around the notion that what was once understood as "the political," has come to include concerns, modes of thought, and forms of action that were previously considered unpolitical. Each theorist approaches the problem from a different perspective, describes different processes, and expresses different concerns; however, they ultimately agree that a change to "the political" has occurred. I trace this common theme through the different articulations provided by each theorist from Arendt's rise of the social to Habermas's transformation and colonization of the public sphere to Foucault's concepts of governmentality and biopolitics.