Foucault News

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

GÜRHAN ÖZPOLAT, “Between Foucault and Agamben: An Overview of the Problem of Euthanasia in the context of Biopolitics” (2017) 7(2) Beytulhikme International Journal of Philosophy 15

In this paper, considering the fact that special forms of dying and killing are mostly seen in a shadowy zone or blurred boundary between life and death, I shall attempt to find a compromise between Michel Foucault (bio-politics) and Giorgio Agamben’s (thanatopolitics) considerations of biopolitics in the case of euthanasia. In this respect, believing that this article requires a historical backround, I shall start with a brief history of euthanasia and suicide in order to understand the present juridico-medico-political complex from which the sovereign power derives its philosophical underpinnings and theoretical justifications today; and show that the relationship power and death has always been very problematic. Secondly, I will focus on the meaning(s) of the disappearance of death in the context of Foucauldian biopolitics and conclude that, in contrast to Foucault’s consideration, something akin to re-discovery of death has taken place in the Western world since the mid-twentieth century. Finally, in the third and last part of the article, I will put forward that Agamben, by introducing the concept life unworthy of being lived, was successful in completing what is missing, that is the politics of death, in Foucault’s notion of biopolitics with reference to the problem of euthanasia.

2 thoughts on “Between Foucault and Agamben: An Overview of the Problem of Euthanasia in the context of Biopolitics (2017)

  1. Janet Abbey says:

    Very important now. I think about it a lot being 84.


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