Anda di halaman 1dari 18

A Conceptual History of Biopolitics 1.

The Notion of Biopolitics Before Foucault: As far as we know, the term biopolitics was coined by Swedish philosopher Rudolf Kyellen (Stormakterma. Konturer kring samtidens storpolitik, Stockholm, 1905). Since then, it has been possible to distinguish, schematically, two different concepts of biopolitics. In one sense, the term biopolitics means conceiving society, the state and politics in biological terms. More precisely, conceiving them in pathological terms: the state is a biological reality, an organism, and since this organism lives in a continual disorder, politics has to be based on pathology. In a second sense, one that contradicts the first whilst being related to it, the term biopolitics is used to account for the way in which the state, politics, and the government takes care, in its assessments and mechanisms, of the life of the biological man. The first sense is the one that has dominated the history of the term up to 1970s; the second one has been imposed since, mostly as a result of the work of Michel Foucault. In this way we can divide the conceptual history of biopolitics concept into two main moments. Michel Foucaults work can be considered the point of inflection between them. According to Roberto Esposito, in his most recent book (Biopolitica e filosofia), and Antonella Cutro (Biopolitica, Storia e attualit di un concetto) three stages can be distinguished nowadays: 1) An organic stage, which was developed in the first three decades of the twentieth century, chiefly by German speakers. The work of Kyellen (Grundri zu einem System der Politik, 1920) and Jacob von Uexkll (Staatsbiologie. Anatomie, Phisiologie, Pathologie des Staates, 1920) belongs here. This phase is dominated by conception of the state as a living organism. A larger example of this stage is found in M. Roberts Biopolitics. An Essay on the philosophy, pathology and politics of social and somatic organisms (1938): [] the one remaining way to treat government is to regard it, not as an historically elaborated and sophisticated instrument, but as a tentative and experimental physiological apparatus responding to the internal and external environment in accordance with physical law. Whatever this can be done with practical advantage to politicians may be doubted, but it cannot be doubted that if it can be done at all task must be assigned to the biologist. (p206) 2) A humanist stage, originating in the 1960s from French-speaking thinkers. Here we find Aaron Starobinski (La biopolitique. Essai

dinterprtation de lhistoire de lhumanit et des civilisations, 1960) and Edgar Morin (Introduction une politique de lhomme, 1965). In this second phase, there is an attempt to explain human history from life, without reducing wherefore history to nature. There are two different attitudes with regards to history. The one of Jacob Burckhardt, which admits the existence and the importance of spiritual forces in history, and the one of Spengler, for whom, in conclusion, the zoological potencies of race and blood guide the evolution of civilisation. There are, then, two species of factors that direct history: the spiritual factors, that depend on reason, on our moral and religious ideal, and the purely biological factors that ground themselves in appetite and potency of will. These are the invisible causes that we will analyze during our disquisition of biopolitics. (A. Starobinski, La biopolitique. Essai dinterprtation de lhistoire de lhumanit et des civilisations, page 1) 3) A naturalist stage, dating from mid-60s, this time mainly proposed by English-speaking thinkers (Lynton Caldwell, Biopolitics: Science, Ethics and Public Policy, The Yale Review, n. 54, 1964, p.1-16, James Davies, Human Nature in Politics, 1963). Here nature appears as the only regulative force as far as politics is concerned. Another stage should be placed before the three mentioned here, one that belongs to the positive origin of biocracy (biocratie). As a matter of fact, the term biocratie is used by Auguste Comte in Systme de politique positive ou trait de sociologie instituant la Religion de lHumanit (1851, vol 1, pages 618,619 and 630). Biocracy is defined as natural and immanent order of disciplined animals. According to Comte, life sciences allow the establishment of the laws of living beings and work as an auxiliary principle of sociology because they provide the bases of positive subjectivity. 2. Biopolitics and governamentality notions in Michel Foucault: 2.1 General framework: From the seventies onwards, Foucaults interest moved from the axis of knowledge to the axis of power and ethics. The distinction of two or three periods in Foucaults work---archaeology and genealogy; or archaeology, genealogy and ethics---correspond to this movement. These movements also coincide with his interest and concern for certain characteristic notions of his work: episteme, dispositive and practice. It is certainly a proper way to focus Foucaults work, with the condition, however, that these movements should not be excessively emphasized. These movements shouldnt be understood as

lewdness, but as extensions or amplifications of the field of analysis. In fact, genealogy doesnt preclude the study of the forms of knowledge, nor of the ethics of power dispositives, yet each one of these environments will be framed in a larger context. The notion of the dispositive will include the notion of episteme, and the notion of practice will include the notion of dispositive. All of Foucaults work can be seen as a philosophical-historical analysis of the practise of subjectivation. It is not power [nor knowledge, we could add] but the subject the one that constitutes the general theme of my investigations (Dits et crits, vol. IV, p.223). These practices of subjectivation, we must stress, are also forms of subjectivation, that is to say, ways in which the subject has been the object of knowledge and power for himself and for others. In the article for D. Huismans Dictionnaire des philosophes (1984) that Foucault wrote pseudonymously as Maurice Florence and which appears reprinted in Dits et crits (vol. IV, pages 631636), the author concludes in these terms: As we can see, the subject of A History of Sexuality can be inscribed within Michel Foucaults general project: it is about analyzing sexuality as an historically singular way of experiencing, in which the subject is objectivised for himself and for others, through certain precise procedures of government. (Dits et crits, vol. IV, p.636). This statement, related here to Lhistoire de la sexualit, can be extended throughout his work. The notions of governmentality and of government are presented, precisely, as the concepts that articulate in Foucault the question of the subject with the forms of politics. It is impossible to close the balance of Foucualts analysis of power and of his political philosophy until the complete courses that he dictated in the Collge de France between 1970 and 1982 are published. However, the last courses, published in 2004, give us the necessary matter to study, in extenso, his analysis of biopolitics and its relationship to governamentality. From this perspective, we can divide Foucaults books and courses in three groups: The first one consists of the courses which were the basis of Surveiller et punir and La volont de savoir. These courses are: La volont de savoir (1970-1971), Thories et institutions pnales (1971-72); La socit punitive (1972-73); Le pouvoir psychiatrique (1973-74, published in 2003); and Les anormaux (1974-75, published in 1999). The modern history of discipline was the fundamental working axis for this group of courses, but Foucault departs from discipline to discuss biopolitics, and in this way he opens the larger chapter on biopower. In fact, as it appears in the last chapter of La volont de savoir, modern societies insist not only on discipline but on the normalization of individuals and populations.

Conversely, the second group of courses is made up of Il faut dfndre la socit (1975-76, published in 1997); Scurite, territoire et population (1977-78, published in 2004); Naissance de la biopolitique (1978-79, published in 2004); Du gouvernement des vivants (1979-1980, unpublished). The thematical axis of these courses consists, in a general way, of biopolitics in a double sense. Firstly, as the power of life; that is to say, the forms of the exercise of power that arise from what Foucault calls the biological threshold of modernity (La volont de savoir, p. 188). That is to say, from the moment in which man as a living animal acquired a political existence, when life considered biologically becomes the real object of government. Secondly, Foucault considers biopolitics as a deadly power, that is to say, the racism whose genealogy Foucault studies in Il faut defendre la socit. In this analytical domain we find the examination of the reason of the state, of the police, and of the pastoral power during the time of restoration and liberalism. From here the notions of government and governamentality dominate Foucaults analysis of power. In the third group of courses we find Subjetivit et verit (1980-81); Lhermneutique du sujet (1981-83, unpublished), Le gouvernement de soi et des autres (1983-84, unpublished); Le gouvernement de soi et des autres: Le courage de la vrit (1983-84, unpublished). Some of these texts have been used for the composition of volumes II and III of Lhistoire de la sexualit. This group of courses is concerned with the notion of government of both oneself and of others, from classical Greek and Roman antiquity up to the first forms of pastoral power with the rise of Christianity, especially of the cenobitical monachism. The notion of government intersects here with that of the history of ethics, in Foucaults sense of the term---that is to say, with the forms of subjectivisation (with the notions of care, of ascesis, of parresa, etc.). 2.2 The Notion of Biopolitics: Foucault first mentioned the notion of biopolitics in 1974 (in La naissance de la mdecine sociale, a lecture given in Rio de Janeiro, and published in Dits et crits, vol. III., p.207-222). The idea is analysed in more depth at the end of La volont de savoir and even more so in his courses at the Collge de France Il faut dfndre la socit, Scurite, territoire et population and Naissance de la biopolitique. In La volont de savoir (p. 177-211), the issue of biopower appears after the description of the formation of sexualitys dispositive, and ends with the question of modern racism, a biological state racism. According to Foucault,

from the classical era the West is undergoing a deep transformation of power mechanisms. Together with the ancient sovereigns right to let live or die, there arose the power of making life or abandoning it to death. From the 17th century, power has been organized towards life, in two main, non-opposing forms, which are nonetheless powerfully connected. On the one hand, there are disciplines (one anatomus-political of the human body) that have as an object the individual body, considered a machine. On the other hand, since the middle of the 18th century a biopolitics of population and body-species has arisen, whose object is the living body, and the support of the biological procedures---birth, mortality, health, life duration. (La volont de savoir, page 183). In Il faut defendre la socit, biopower appears at the end of a lengthy analysis in which Foucault analyses the transformation of the concept of racial conflict. Here, Foucault starts by placing Nietzsches hypothesis in opposition to Hobbes hypothesis. With this contrast he wants to leave aside the notion of sovereignty (Hobbes) and use instead the notions of war and struggle (Nietzsche) to analyse power. In the last lesson of Foucaults course, given on 17th March 1976, the subject of biopolitics appears precisely as a biologicist and state transformation of racial conflict. Foucault explains from here the appearance of modern racism. In Scurit, territoire et population and Naissance de la biopolitique, the issue of biopolitics is seen in the context of modern political rationalism, particularly regarding the study of liberalism and the reason of the state. [] (Naissance de la biopolitique, page 24). As we see, Foucault develops the subject of biopolitics in three separate ways that arent completely integrated between 1976 an 1979. In the first place, the issue of biopolitics appears as a transformation of racial conflict. This position is the one that we found treated more extensively in Il faut defendre la socit. In the second place, in a completely parallel text, La volont de savoir, the issue of biopolitics is introduced---in contrast to Il faut defendre la socite---from the notion of sovereignty, as one of the possible transformations of the sovereign right to make die or let live. Here Foucault does not appeal, in his genealogy of biopolitics, to Nietzsches hypothesis nor to the notions of war and struggle. In spite of this difference, the formation of modern biopolitics also appears in La volont de savoir as the historical condition on which modern racism is founded. In the third place, the formation of biopolitics does not appear fundamentally linked to modern racism but rather to what Foucault would later call governamentality. 2.3 The notion of governamentality:

Now, the displacements that we have already mentioned do not only respond to a logic of amplification but also to certain theoretical precise difficulties. The displacement-inclusion of the notion of the episteme into the notion of dispositive responds to the need to include the non discursive arena in the analysis of knowledge. The formation of human sciences, for example, is not just the consequence of an epistemical disposition, but is made historically possible by disciplinary practices. In the same way, the importance of the notions of government and governamentality are a consequence of the insufficiency of theoretical instruments to analyse power. Foucault criticized some of these instruments (the concept of repression, of sovereignty) and, in Il faut defendre la socit, he tested what he calls Nietzsches hipothesis, that is to say, power conceived as struggle, as war. Now, the influence that Nietzsche had on Foucaults thinking could cause us to conclude incorrectly that Foucaults position on power ends by reducing itself to Nietzsches hypothesis. But the issue of freedom drives Foucault to reach a different conclusion: The power is less of the order of the clash between two adversaries or of the commitment of one opposite to other one, that of the order of the government []. The way of relation of the power should not be looked for then neither for the side of the violence and of the struggle nor for the side of the contract or of the voluntary link but for the side thus neither of singular action nor warrior not juridically that is the government (Dits et crits, vol. IV, page 237). From this point of view, it is clear that in the bigger picture of his investigations the practices of governability are what constitute western subjectivity. Thus, we situate the notions of government and governamentality at the centre of Foucaults work. Foucaults notion of government has two axes: the government as the relationship between subjects and in relation with itself. In the first sense, [] [the government] is a set of actions on possible actions. It works over a field of possibility at the one that comes to register the behaviour of the subjects that act: it incites, induces, deflects, facilitates or impedes, extends or limits, does more or less probable, weighed anchor to the limit, forces or prevents absolutely. (Dits et crits, vol. IV, page 237). It is about a behaviour that has as its object the behaviour of another individual or group. To govern consists of leading behaviours. Foucault wants to keep his notion of government as large as possible. But, in the second sense, it is also of the order of the government the relation that one can establish with itself in the measurement in which for example it is a question of dominating the pleasures or the desires. Foucault is particularly interested in the relationship between the forms of self-government and the ways of governing others. The modes of

objectivation-subjectivation are situated at where these two axes cross, notably in his works referring to ancient ethics and pastoral power. Foucault uses the term governamentality to refer to the object of study of the ways of governing. We found, in agreement, with the axis of the notion of government that we mentioned, two ideas of governamentality. In the first place, we found a domain defined by: 1) the whole constituted by institutions, procedures, analysis and reflections, calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this form of power that has population as its main objective, political economy as its larger form and security mechanisms as its essential technical instrument; 2) the tendency, the line of force that drove the West towards the pre-eminence of this type of power, that is, governing others---the sovereignty, the discipline---and that, on the other hand, allowed the development of a series of knowledges; 3) the process, or rather, the result of the process by which the Justice State of the Middle Ages became, during the 15th and 16th centuries, the Administrative State and finally the Governamentalized State (Dits et crits, vol. III, page 655). The study of the forms of governmentality implies, then, the analysis of the forms of rationality, of technical procedures, of forms of instrumentalization. This is what could be called political governmentality. In the second place, Foucault calls governmentality [] to the encounter of the techniques of domination of others and of oneself (Dits et crits, vol. IV, page 785). In this sense, the study of governamentality cannot discard the relationship between the subject and itself. (cf. LHermeneutique du sujet, page 241). The analysis of governmentality contains, then, in a very large sense, an examination of what Foucault calls the arts of governing. These arts include, in the largest sense, the study of self-government (ethics), the government of others (the political forms of governmentality) and the relationships between the government of oneself and the government of others. In this way, we could include in this field: self-care, the different forms of ascesis (ancient, Christian), pastoral power (confession, spiritual direction), discipline, biopolitics, police, the reason of state liberalism. In a more restrictive sense, in Scurit, territoire et population, Foucault broaches the notions of governmentality and the arts of governing to delimit a field of analysis that is different from the gender counsels to the prince and from political science. The course is particularly interesting from here because we can draw the lines of development of the modern State, or what Foucault calls the Governamentalized State. Foucault proposes to analyse literature on the art of governing from the middle of the 15th century up to the end of the 18th century. There are many reasons for the appearance of this abundant literature answering the question How to govern? Without doubt, the return to

stoicism is important, but the causes can be reduced schematically to two: the movement of state concentration (the appearance of national states) and the movement of dispersion and religious dissidence (the restoration). Foucault takes into consideration the work of G. de La Perrire (Le Miroir politique, contenant diverses manires degouverner et policer les rpubliques, 1955) and Franois de la Mothe Le vayer (Lconomie du Prince, 1653). The former distinguishes three forms of government: the self-government (morality), the government of the family and the house (economy) and State government (politics). In spite of this distinction, a double continuity exists among these forms of governing: an ascendant continuity (the person who governs the State must be capable of governing themselves) and a descendant continuity (in a well-governed State, parents know how to govern the house and individuals also behave properly). The pedagogy of the Prince assures the ascendant continuity and politics assures the descendant one. The problematic part of all this literature, and not just that of Mothe Le Vayer, consists, according to Foucault, of how to introduce economy into politics. Governing a Stat e will then be implementing the economy, an economy at the level of the entire State, that is to say, with regard to the inhabitants, the wealth, the conduct of each and every one, a form of surveillance, of control like the one that the father has over his family, his house and his goods. [] In the sixteenth century the term economy designated a form of government, in the eighteenth century, it designated a level of reality, a field of intervention [] (Dits et crits, vol. III, page 642). From this point of view, and in a different way from other genres on government, territory is not the object of government, population is. To say things schematically, the art of governing finds towards the end of the sixteenth century and beginnings of the seventeenth a first way of crystalization. This is organized towards the subject of the reason of the State, understood not in a pejorative and negative way as it is today (destroying the principles of law, of equity or of humanity on behalf of States interest), but in a positive and full way. The State governs itself according to rational laws of its own, that are not deduced from natural or divine laws, nor from the precepts of knowledge and prudence. The State, like nature, has its own rationality, although it is of a different type. Inversely, the art of governing, rather than looking for its basis in transcendent rules, in a cosmological model or in a moral philosophical ideal, will have to find them in what constitutes the specific reality of State (Dits et crits, vol. III, page 648). Mercantilism was the first form of rationalization of the exercise of power as a practice of governmentality, the first form of knowledge constituted to be used as tactic for government. The development of this first form has been blocked, mainly, by the concern for conjugating the art of

governing with the theory of sovereignty and contract theory. Nevertheless, in the seventeenth century certain circumstances determine the reactivation of the arts of governing genre: demographic expansion, monetary abundance, the increase of agricultural production, or, to be more precise, the re-centring of economy not on family but on population. This carries a number of consequences: the disappearance of the family model as a model for government (the family will become an instrument of government of populations); the development of the idea of the population as the ultimate objective of government (improvement of the populations situation, increase of wealth, life duration, health improvement), arising from a knowledge that is proper of the State that would be called political economy. Synthetically, the step from an art of governing to a political science, the step from a regime dominated by the structures of sovereignty to a regime dominated by these techniques, is taken with regard to population, and in consequence, with regard to the birth of a political economy (Dits et crits, vol. III, page 653). This does not mean, nevertheless, that questions of sovereignty and discipline had been put aside. Both would be deepened, but from the perspective of the government of populations. So it is necessary to understand things correctly not as a replacement of a society of sovereignty by a society of discipline, and then from a society of discipline by a governmental society. What actually happens is a sovereignty-discipline-governmental management triangle whose main aim is population and whose essential mechanisms are security mechanisms (Dits et crits, vol. III, page 654). For Foucault, in conclusion, what is important in our times is not the state nor statization of society but the governmentalization of the state. In this sense Foucault moves with a typology of states that can be summarised in this way: the state of justice (born in a feudal type territoriality), the administrative state of the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries (that corresponds to a society of regulations and disciplines with a frontier territoriality, not with a feudal one), and the governmental state (which has as its objective population and not territory, which uses economic knowledge, and which controls society by means of security mechanisms) (Dits et crits, vol. III, pages 656-657). In the light of what we have just described, the importance that Foucaults thought would have on the question of liberalism from the point of view of the rationality of governmentality practices can be understood. 3.The concept of biopolitics after Foucault:

As a continuation of the Foucaultian analysis of biopolitics we can identify several lines of investigation. For the aims of our work, we are particularly interested in those of Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito. 3.1. Giorgio Agamben: Agamben finds an identity of form between the apories of the concept of sovereignty and the state of exception, on the one hand; and the apories of the homo sacer on the other. The state of exception, in fact, exists in a relationship of inclusion and, at the same time, of exclusion regarding the juridical order. Exclusion, because it is, precisely, exception, suspension of the juridical order; and inclusion because only in relation with this can it be thought of as exception. Now, in some legal figures we find ourselves in an analogous situation; among them that of the homo sacer. According to Sextus Pompeius Festus someone who has been convicted of a crime is declared homo sacer by the population. This implies, on the one hand, that whoever kills him is not committing murder, and, on the other hand, that his life cannot be offered as sacrifice. Homo sacer life situates itself, then, in a zone that is outside of mans law and also outside of the gods law (Homo sacer I, pages 79-82). This is nothing but life, that which can be suppressed without the need for offering sacrifices and without committing murder. It is sovereign power that finds itself in this situation regarding life. Sovereign power and bare life are, in this way, correlative terms. Both the homo sacer and sovereign power communicate in the figure of a work that in placing itself outside of both human and divine law, of both nmos and physis, delimits, however, in a certain sense the first political space in a proper sense, different from the religious arena as from the profane arena, from the natural order as from the normal juridical order (Homo sacer I, page 94). The homo sacer is a figure of Latin culture, in German and Scandinavian mythologies and traditions, we find, instead, the brother of homo sacer: the wolf man, the bandit (placed outsie of the law), the friedlos. Nor man neither beast, he inhabits both worlds without belonging to either of them. This is the sense in which Hobbes mythology of the state of nature, in which every man is a wolf for the others (homo homini lupus), should be interpreted. According to Agamben, there is in this affirmation an echo of the caput lupinun of Edward the Confessors laws (Homo sacer I, pages 117118). More than a state of war of everybody against everybody, it is a situation in which everyone is a caput lunimun for others, a homo sacer. The state of nature is, really, a state of exception in which the city appears for a while (that is at the same time chronological interval and intemporal instant) tanquam

dissoluta. In other words, foundation is not a fact that has taken place once and for all in illo tempore, it is being continuously realized in the social state under the form of sovereign decision []. It is convenient to leave all the representations of the original political act as a contract or convention that would mark in a specific and precise way the step from the natural state to the State. (Homo sacer I, page 121). In this sense, it would be necessary to modify the interpretation that Foucault offers both us of Hobbes and of the concept of sovereignty at two fundamental points. In the first place, when in Il faut dfendre la socit Foucault links Hobbes theory of the sovereignty almost exclusively to the agreement of wills among naturally egalitarian rivalries. In the second place, when in La volont de savoir, explaining precisely the appearance of biopower, he makes the right to punish---the ius punendi---a right that the citizens award the sovereign. In contrast with the way in which we, modern beings, are used to representing ourselves in the political space--that is, in terms of the rights of the citizen, of free will and of the social contract---from the point of view of the authentic political sovereignty [the political space] is just bare life. That is why, in Hobbes, the foundation of sovereign power must not be looked for by granting freely, on the part of all the subjects, their natural rights; but rather in the conservation, on the part of the sovereign, of the right to do anything to anyone who appears now as rightly punishable. []Sovereign violence is not really founded on an agreement, but in the exclusive inclusion of the bare life in the state (Homo sacer I, pages 118-119). Thus what is implicit in the concept of sovereignty is none other than the problematics of biopower, that is to say, of the mutual implication between politics and life. Agamben, at the beginning of Homo sacer, indicates how the Greeks distinguished zoe (animal life, biological life we would say in our terms) from bios (qualified life, the way of life); in the same way that they distinguished between okos (the house) and polis (the city). Okos defined the sphere of zoe, the polis the arena of bios. What has happened in modern times (although for Agamben this defines every power, not only modern power) is the inclusion of the zoe into the polis (Homo sacer I, pages 3-5). From this we can understand, on the other hand, the problem that the expression political economy raises. For us, modern beings, the conjunction of these two concepts that the Greeks maintained separate, has become, through its ordinariness, almost self-evident. It is easy to perceive how what Foucault calls normalization societies are societies of state of exception: in them it is possible to dispose of life without further ado (without committing homicide and without celebrating sacrifices), in them men tend to turn into homines sacri. But the concept of the

state of exception also allows us to return to the category of sovereignty, without resigning the political historicism that Foucault stated in Il faut defender la socit, in order to mark the opposition to a sovereignty that originated in a contract. The concept of the state of exception, in fact, refers us to that point in which power and life, sovereign power and naked life are implied beyond any nature and any law, any physis and any nmos. If it is true that the articulation between life and law, anomia and nmos, produced by the state of exception is effective, although ficticious, one can not, nevertheless, conclude that, beyond juridical mechanisms, there is an immediate access to that for which they [life and law] represent the fracture, and at the same time, the impossible composition. Firstly, there is no life like natural biological information and anomia like the natural state, so they have no implication in law in the state of exception. On the contrary, the same possibility of distinguishing life from law, anomia and nmos coincide with their articulation in the biopolitical machine. Bare life is a product of the machine, not something that existed before it, as law does not have any base in nature or in the divine mind [] Politics has suffered a lasting eclipse because it has been contaminated by law, conceiving itself, at best, as constituent power (that is to say, violence that constitutes law), when it is not simply reduced to power of negotiation with the law. Instead, politics really is nothing more than the action that breaks open the nexus between violence and law. And only from that space, opened in this way, will it be possible to ask about an eventual use of law after the deactivation of the mechanism that, in the state of exception, was tying it to life (Stato di eccezione, pages 112-113). 3.2 Roberto Esposito: Community, immunity and life are the three great axes of Roberto Espositos work. In Comunitas (1998), Esposito proposes to focus on the dialectic that dominates the actual debate around the community, that is to say, the dialectic between what is common and what is ones own, what is common is identified with its opposite.Esposito intends to avoid the dialectics that dominates the current on community, that is to say, the dialectic between that which is common and that which belongs to one. Esposito identifies what is common with its opposite. Common is what unifies in one unique own identity (ethnical, territorial, spiritual), to have in common is to be owner of something common. .. For this he starts from another ethimological possibility of the term communitas, the one that underlines in it thee term munus. Communitas is divided, then, into cum and munus. But, what must we understand by munus? In the first place, it is necessary to have in

mind that munus is said both of what it is public and of what it is private. In the second place munus can mean onus (obligation), officium (function, work) and donum (gift). The first two meanings are forms of duty, But Espsito underlines that gift also a form of duty. The munus, in fact, is a particular way of gift, the gift that, although it sounds contradictory to our ears, is a duty. It is a gift that is given because it must be given, and it cannot be not given. Thus, community stops being that what its members have in common, something positive that they own, the community is the group of persons that are united by a duty, by a debt, by an obligation of giving. Thus community links itself with the subtraction, with sacrifice. Because of this, community cannot be thought as a body, a corporation, in which individuals are founded in a bigger individual. But it cannot be understood as an intersubjective reciprocal recognition in which they are reflected confirming their initial identity. Exposito will follow the relation community-sacrifice in the modern political-philosophical discourse through four central concepts: blame (J. J. Rousseau), law (I. Kant), static aperture (M. Heidegger), and sovereign experience (G. Bataille). In Inmunitas (2002), we find a parallel and complementary ethimological-conceptual analysis to the one that Esposito carried out in Communitas. Inmune, is in a first sense, the one that is deprived or excused of an obligation, of a duty, of a munus. Inmune turns to be, then, a negative concept. But as long as the munus, that one is excused of, is the one that the others have in common, immune also expresses a comparison. It is about the diversity regarding others condition. Now, moving from the juridical area to the bio medical one, immunity acquires another sense. In this case it expresses the organisms refractariety in regards of the danger of contracting a disease (Inmunitas, page 9). Although this is an ancient sense, according to Esposito, the concept suffers a transformation during the nineteenth century, related to the vaccination practice, with the introduction of the notion of acquired immunity. An attenuated and induced form of infection can prevent, in fact, an illness. Protect life by making it try death. This apory according to the author, goes through al the languages of modernity. Violence, for example, is one of the components of the juridical-institutional apparatus destined to repress it. The books aim is, precisely, the study of this apory, the relation between proteccion and negation of life, as the constitutive form of political modernity. The subject of Bios (2004), as the subtitle indicates, is the relation between biopolitics and philosophy. Through the light of this problematic, the three first chapters are devoted to Foucault, Hobbes and Nietzsche. The fourth is devoted to tanatopolitics, and the last one to a philosophy of bios after

nazism. As he warns us at the end of the introduction, his philosophys task is not proposing political actions or converting biopolitics into the new flag of a revolutionary manifesto. Without denying that philosophy can effectively act on politics. Espositos proposal is not to think life in function of politics, but, to think politics in the same way as life (Bios, page XVI). In last instance, it is a question of inverting the negative sign that, with the inmunitarian paradigm, has accompanied biopolitics until now In each one of these dialogues, Esposito has established a strait dialogue with Foucaults work. This dialogue reaches a critical balance in the first chapter of Bios. According to Esposito, there are two interpretative models of biopolitics in Foucault. In one of them, biopolitics is an internal articulation of sovereignty; and in the other, sovereignty is just a formal mask of biopolitics. The tension established between both of them, according to Esposito, finds its reason of being in the insufficiencies of foucaultian analisys of modernity s historiography. 3.3 Other lines of investigation related to Foucaults work: Jaques Rancire, Paul Rainbow, Toni Negri and Michael Hardt: For Jaques Rancire (Aux bords du politique, 1998) the nucleus of Foucaultian reading is not the opposition between biopower and sovereignty. Rancire starts from the opposition (which Foucault insists on in his analysis of the political rationality of modernity) between police and politics. While the police are the order that establishes a distribution of a way of doing, saying and being, politics is, instead, the activity that breaks this order. Because of this, in politics, what is in question is subjectivity. Paul Rainbow (Essay on Anthropology of Reason, 1996), displaces the Foucaultian theses of man as a discursive production of the modernity, from the field of human sciences to the field of genetics and immunology. From here he centers the analysis of biopower on the relation between these sciences and new productions of subjectivity. With M. Hardt and A. Negri (Empire, 2000), finally, the problematic issues of biopolitics articulate themselves with the new global configuration of power, a configuration that Hardt and Negri call empire.

4. Bibliography: 4.1. Michel Foucault: 1954 Maladie mentale et personnalit, Paris.

1961 1962 1963 1963 1966 1969 1971 1975 1976 1984 1984 1994 1997 1999 2001 2003 2004 2004

Folie et draison, Histoire de la folie lge classique, Paris. Maladie mentale et psychologie, Paris. La naissance de la clinique, Paris. Raymond Roussel, Paris. Les mots et les choses. Une archologie des sciences humaines, Paris. Larchologie du savoir, Paris. Lordre du discours, Paris. Surveiller et punir. Naissance de la prison, Paris. La volont de savoir, Histoire de la sexualit I, Paris. Lusage des plaisirs, Histoire de la sexualit II, Paris. Le souci de soi, Histoire de la sexualit III, Paris. Dits et crits, Paris, 4 vols. Il faut dfendre la socit. Cours au Collge de France, 1976, Paris. Les anormaux. Cours au Collge de France. 1974-1975, Paris. LHermneutique du sujet. Cours au Collge de France, 19811982, Paris. Le pouvoir psychiatrique. Cours au Collge de France, 19731974, Paris. Securit, Territoire, Population. Cours au Collge de France, 1977-1978, Paris. Naissance de la biopolitique. Cours au Collge de France, 19781979, Paris.

4.2. On biopolitics and guvernamentality, related to Michel Foucault.

AGAMBEN, Giorgio: 2004 Stato di eccezione. Homo sacer II, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino. 2002 L'aperto. L'uomo e l'animale, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino. 1998 Quel che resta di Auschwitz. Homo sacer III, Bollati Boringhieri Torino. 1996 Mezzi senza fini, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino. 1995 Homo sacer. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita, Einaudi, Torino. AMATO, Pierandrea (eds.): 2004 La biopolitica. Il potere sulla vita e la costituzione della soggettivit, Mimesis, Milano. BARRY, Andrew - OSBORNE, Thomas, ROSE, Nikolas (eds.),

1996 Foucault and the Political Reason. Liberalism and rationalities of governement, University of Chicago Press, ChicagoLondon. BAZZICALUPO, Laura - ESPOSITO, Roberto (eds.): 2003 Politica della vita, Laterza, Roma. BAZZICALUPO, Laura: 2000 "Biopolitica", in Galli, Carlo (ed.), Enciclopedia del pensiero politico, Laterza, Roma, pgs.70-71. BURCHEL, Graham - GORDON, Colin - MILLER, Peter (eds.), 1991 The Foucault Effect. Studies in governmentality, University Press, Chicago. CALDWELL, Lynton: 1963 Biopolitics: science, Ethics, and Public Policy, en The Yale Review, n. 54, pgs. 1-16. CORNIG, Peter: 1978 Biopolitics: Toward a New Political Science, American Political Science Association, New York. CUTRO, Antonella: 2004 Michel Foucault. Tecnica e vita. Bio-politica e filosofia del bios, Bibliopolis, Napoli. 2005 Biopolitica. Storia e attualit di un concetto, Ombre Corte, Verona, 2005. DAVIES, James: 1963 Human nature in Politics, New York. ESPOSITO, Roberto: 1998 Communitas, Origine e destino della comunit, Einaudi, Torino. 2002 Immunitas. Protezione e negazione della vita, Einaudi, Torino. 2002 Bos. Biopolitica e fisolofia, Einaudi, Torino. HARDT, Michael - NEGRI, Antonio: 2000 Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. 2004 Multitude, Penguin Press, Cambridge. HELLER, Agnes - PUNTSCHER RIEKMANN, Sonja: 1996 Biopolitics: the Politics of Body, Race and Nature, European Centre for Social Welfare Politics, Wien. HONNETH, Axel von 1985 Kritik der Macht. Reflexionsstufen einer kritischen Gesselschaftstheorie, Suhrkamp, Franfurt am Main. HOTTOIS, Gilbert : 1999 Essai de philosophie biothique et biopolitique, Vrin, Paris.

STENGERS, Isabelle : 1998 Sciences et pouvoirs, Faut-il en avoir peur?, Editions Labor, Bruxelles. KJELLEN, Rudolf : 1920 Grundri zu einem system der Politik, Leipzig. LANDON THORSON, Thomas: 1970 Biopolitics, Holt, Reinhart and Winston, Toronto. LATOUR, Bruno: 1999 Politique de la nature, La dcouverte, Paris. MORIN, Edgard: 1965 Introduction une politique de l'homme, Seuil, Paris. NEUENHAUS, Petra: 1993 Max Weber und Michel Foucault: ber Macht und Herrschaft in der Moderne, Pfaffenweiler. PERTICARI, Paolo (eds.): 2003 Biopolitica minore, Manifestolibri, Roma 2003. RABINOW, Paul: 1996 Essay on anthropology of reason, Princeton University Press, Princeton. RANCIRE, Jacques: 1998 Aux bords du politique, Gallimard, Paris. ROBERTS, Morley: 1938 Biopolitics. An Essay on the physiology, pathology and politics of social and somatic organisms, Dent, London. SOMIT, Albert (ed.): 1976 Biology and Politics, Moutons, Paris. SOMIT, Albert - PETERSON, S.: 1991-2001 Research in Biopolitics, Jai press, Greenwich, Connecticut, Vols.. 1-8. STAROBINSKI, Aaron: 1960 La biopolitique. Essai d'interpretation de l'histoire de l'humanit et des civilisations. Genve. UEXKLL, Jacob von : 1920 Staatsbiologie. Anatomie, Phisiologie, Pathologie des Staates, Berlin. VLAVIANOS-ARVANITIS, Agni: 1992 Biopolitics. The bio-environment. Bio-Syllabus, Biopolitics International Organization. WIEGELE, Thomas:

1979 Biopolitics. Search a more Human Political Science, Westview Press, Boulder Colorado.