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Biopolitics and/or biopower

Author(s): Lošonc Alpar

Journal: Filozofija i Društvo
ISSN 0353-5738

Volume: 19;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 153;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: sovereignty | biopolitics | life | power | political-economy of life

The author of this article thematizes the meanings of life in political philosophy. There are two answers to the question concerning the legitimacy of life in the political philosophy. The first, negative, answer is connected to Arendt, the second is connected to Michel Foucault who has delineated the genesis of the biopolitics in the Western tradition and argued that, since the classical age, "deduction" based on the practice of sovereign power has become merely one element in a range of mechanisms working to generate incite, reinforce, control, monitor, optimize and organize the forces of life. Nowadays, the capacity to manipulate our mere biological life, rather than simply to govern aspects of forms of life, implies a biopolitics that contests how and when we use these technologies and for what purposes. The author of this article emphasizes the significance of the common treating of the biopower and sovereignty, but he critizices the concept of biopolitics based on the idea of the emancipation of the subordinated body. Polical philosophy demonstrates that there is an irreducible difference between these types of power, but it is necessary to analyze them simultaneously. There are a lot of tendencies (for example, biosecurity) that prove the importance of sovereign power for the practice of biopower. However, the sovereignty without biopolitics is exposed to weaknesses and regression. The task for political philosophy is to articulate the dynamic relations between sovereignty and biopower today.
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