№ 4, 2021
Zombie of Biopower: Is the Concept Outdated?
The article is devoted to the discussion about what the concept of biopower, developed within the framework of the postmodern critical theory, means in the context of the modern world, both in general theoretical and empirical sense. According to the author’s conclusion, although this concept remains significant for Political Science, it is largely outdated and could turn into a scientific zombie idea. Giorgio Agamben, one of the classics of Political Philosophy, who denied the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic on the basis of the methodology of biopolitics, is case in point. Another evidence comes from the fact that researchers from different countries, including Russia, increasingly look for new approaches and tools of the biopolitical analysis, and try to saturate the concept with new ideas and data.
This article proposes three ways how to make biopolitical research more relevant today. One way is to rethink the normative/moral foundations of biopower, to reject an implicitly negative assessment of the concept. Another way is to expand the historical framework, to pay greater attention to historical cases that allow us to trace different stages of the evolution of biopolitical patterns, to focus on the analysis of specific manifestations of biopower in concrete situations. The third way is to move towards the synthesis of critical biopolitics and evolutionary biopolitics, which draws data from the natural sciences. According to the author, these efforts together will make it possible to move from the unidirectional asymmetric link “the political influences the bio logical” to a more complex scheme of mutual reflective influence of the political and the biological.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ C. V.Fokin