Foucault News

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

Neilson, B. Ageing, Experience, Biopolitics: Life’s Unfolding, Body and Society, Volume 18, Issue 3-4, September 2012, Pages 44-71


In the wake of Foucault, the debate on biopolitics has focused on the tensions of bíos and zoé, community and immunity, generation and thanatopolitics. What remains obscure in these accounts is the experiential aspect of life – its unfolding and entanglement with the ageing process. This is true both of approaches that emphasize the ethical implications of the life sciences and those that explore the biopolitical workings of wider social processes. In the contemporary capitalist formation, life’s unfolding is caught up in global flows of information, finance and labour. The organization of the human faculties, the general preconditions for knowledge and communication, becomes central to value creation. And the human body, like fixed capital for Marx, becomes a cost to be amortized as quickly as possible. Investigating these processes with regard to transformations in practices of care provides a means for reassessing current debates regarding the ageing of people and populations. © The Author(s) 2012.

Author keywords
ageing; biopolitics; capitalism; care; experience; Foucault

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