Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction

Front Cover
NYU Press, Feb 7, 2011 - Social Science - 158 pages
1 Review

The biological features of human beings are now measured, observed, and understood in ways never before thought possible, defining norms, establishing standards, and determining average values of human life. While the notion of “biopolitics” has been linked to everything from rational decision-making and the democratic organization of social life to eugenics and racism, Thomas Lemke offers the very first systematic overview of the history of the notion of biopolitics, exploring its relevance in contemporary theoretical debates and providing a much needed primer on the topic.

Lemke explains that life has become an independent, objective and measurable factor as well as a collective reality that can be separated from concrete living beings and the singularity of individual experience. He shows how our understanding of the processes of life, the organizing of populations and the need to “govern” individuals and collectives lead to practices of correction, exclusion, normalization, and disciplining. In this lucidly written book, Lemke outlines the stakes and the debates surrounding biopolitics, providing a systematic overview of the history of the notion and making clear its relevance for sociological and contemporary theoretical debates.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Life as the Basis of Politics
9
2 Life as an Object of Politics
23
Michel Foucault
33
Giorgio Agamben
53
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
65
6 The Disappearance and Transformation of Politics
77
7 The End and Reinvention of Nature
93
8 Vital Politics and Bioeconomy
105
An Analytics of Biopolitics
117
Notes
125
References
129
Index
139
About the Author
145
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Thomas Lemke is Heisenberg Professor for Sociology with Focus on Biotechnology, Nature and Society at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

Monica J. Casper is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the School of Sociology and the Africana Studies Program at the University of Arizona. Her publications include Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility.

Lisa Jean Moore is Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies and Coordinator of Gender Studies at Purchase College, State University of New York. She is author of Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man’s Most Precious Fluid and co-author of Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility and Buzz: Urban Beekeeping and the Power of the Bee. She is also co-editor of the collection The Body Reader and, with Monica Casper, oversees the series Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the Twenty-First Century for NYU Press.

Bibliographic information