Foucault News

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

Special issue: The Politics of Life, European Journal of Social Theory, Volume 22 Issue 3, August 2019

Editorial Introduction:
This introduction to the special issue focuses on the messiness of biopolitics. The biopolitical is a composite mixture of heterogeneous, and sometimes conflicting, forces, discourses, institutions, laws, and practices that are embedded in and animated by material social relations. In the now extensive literature on biopolitics, our biopolitical era is characterized by the blending and mixing of what were previously thought of as separate realms: life is biologized, politics is biologized and biology is politicized, life and politics have been economized, and making life is intertwined with making death. This article provides a general overview of two strains of these biopolitical entanglements. It begins by examining the largely French and Italian focus on how politics and life have become economized in contemporary neoliberalism. We then turn to the mainly Anglo-American focus on the biologization of life. It concludes by taking up the central problem that arises from the messiness of biopolitics: whither the political of the biopolitical economy of life? Is there such a thing as the political proper in our era? If not, then what type of politics must be deployed to address the issues of our biopolis?


Guest editors: Greg Bird and Heather Lynch

Special issue introduction

Introduction to the politics of life: A biopolitical mess 301
Greg Bird and Heather Lynch

Special issue articles

Postdemocracy and biopolitics
Roberto Esposito

Me, my self, and the multitude: Microbiopolitics of the human microbiome
Penelope Ironstone

Geopower: On the states of nature of late capitalism
Federico Luisetti

Esposito’s affirmative biopolitics in multispecies homes
Heather Lynch

The eroticization of biopower: Masochistic relationality and resistance
in Deleuze and Agamben
Hannah Richter

Religion and the spontaneous order of the market: Law, freedom, and power
over lives
Elettra Stimilli

From homo sacer to homo dolorosus: Biopower and the politics of suffering 416
Charles Wells

2 thoughts on “Special issue: The Politics of Life. European Journal of Social Theory (2019)

  1. stuartelden says:

    Reblogged this on Progressive Geographies and commented:
    European Social Theory theme issue on The Politics of Life, including a piece by Roberto Esposito (requires subscription)


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