Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Anderson, Ben, Affect and biopower: Towards a politics of life, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 28-43

Abstract
In this paper I stage an encounter between two concepts that have become popular placeholders for a broad concern with a politics of life: affect and biopower. Through engagement with Antonio Negri’s writings on the ‘real subsumption of life’ in contemporary capitalism and Michel Foucault’s lectures on neoliberalism, I show that understanding how forms of biopower work through affect requires attending to three relations: affective relations and capacities are object-targets for discipline, biopolitics, security and environmentality; affective life is the outside through which new ways of living may emerge; and specific collective affects (including ‘state-phobia’) are part of the conditions for the birth of forms of biopower. In what is simultaneously a departure from, and an affirmation of, recent work on affect, I argue that attending to the dynamics of affective life may become political as a counter to forms of biopower that work through processes of normalisation. The consequence is that understanding how biopower works on and through affect becomes a precondition for developing affirmative relations with affective life.

Author keywords
Affect; Biopolitics; Biopower; Life; Neoliberalism; Non-representationaltheories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: