The vitality of power. A genealogy of biopolitics with Foucault and Canguilhem

Muhle, Maria

This text proposes a genealogy of biopolitics based on Michel Foucault’s thought, and on an understanding of it as a philosophico-political notion. In order to elaborate this genealogy, the text takes as its starting point not only politics but also life, as the second component of the term. The hypothesis is the following: To understand what biopolitics means, we have to take seriously Foucault’s assertion of an indetermination of life, as the correlate of power and knowledge. This notion emerges in the epistemic break that takes place around 1800 and that entails the opening up of the notion of biopolitics under the name of governmentality, implying that life is not only the object of biopolitics but also serves as its model.

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Muhle, Maria: The vitality of power. A genealogy of biopolitics with Foucault and Canguilhem. 2017.

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