Foucault News

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

Gordon Hull, Republican Thanatopolitics, New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science blog, 8 May 2017

Foucault reminds us that biopolitics is describes a kind of power structure according to which some will be compelled to live (or have their lives as members of a favored population optimized), while others will be allowed to die. As he puts it, “the ancient right to take life or let live was replaced by a power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death” (HS1, 138). Although much work has focused on techniques by which biopower works to optimize a population, it is worth attending to the disallowance of life, the thanatopolitics that is the other half of biopower, because the Republican party is engaged in producing a very effective case study.

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