Foucault News

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

Carlo Salzani
COVID-19 and State of Exception: Medicine, Politics, and the Epidemic State, Paris Institute for Critical Thinking, 12 March 2021

Open access

The article analyzes the paradigm of the state of exception which has been evoked in relation to the exceptional measures adopted against the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, with particular reference to the works of Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben. In Agamben, the medicalization of politics analyzed by Foucault is complemented by a theory of sovereignty derived from Carl Schmitt that identifies in the state of exception the original political relation. His recent and much criticized attacks against the exceptional anti-COVID-19 measures must thus be read and understood within the wider context of his politico-philosophical project.

CARLO SALZANI is Guest Scholar at the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Vienna, Austria. His recent publications include the volumes Animality in Contemporary Italian Philosophy (2020), co-edited with Felice Cimatti, and Saramago’s Philosophical Heritage (2018), co-edited with Kristof K.P. Vanhoutte.

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