Biopower Today

  title={Biopower Today},
  author={Paul Rabinow and Nikolas Rose},
In this article we undertake some conceptual clarification of the concepts of biopower and biopolitics, and argue for their utility in contemporary analysis. We consider Foucault's development of these concepts, and differentiate his view, which is close to ours, from the philosophical take-up of the terms by Giorgio Agamben and Antonio Negri. Biopower, we suggest, entails one or more truth discourses about the ‘vital’ character of living human beings; an array of authorities considered… 


Much of the biopolitical literature has been preoccupied with the relationship between biopolitics and economy, or bioeconomy as it is increasingly called. Although much has been said about the

Biopower, Sadomasochism, and Pastoral Power: Acceptance via Transgression

The transposition of biopower from the state to the individual has been a major preoccupation of biopower scholarship in recent decades. While some researchers have found grounds for optimism in the

The government of life: managing populations, health and scarcity

Abstract The concepts of governmentality and biopolitics were contemporaneous and interlinked in Michel Foucault's initial analyses. These foregrounded how in the eighteenth century the population

Biopolitical Nomos and “bare life” in Arundhati Roy’s novels

Biopolitics—the maneuvers and stratagems employed to regulate, manage and govern people—is one of the most contested theoretical paradigms, which deals with the relation between state politics and

10 Biopower, Heterogeneous Biosocial Collectivities and Domestic Livestock Breeding

This chapter examines the analytical potential of Foucault’s anthropocentric conceptualisation in examples involving nonhuman animals and explores the empirical case study of livestock breeding in the UK, focusing on the increasing use of 'genetic' knowledge-practices in this context.

Perils of Civil Society: When Discourses of Human Rights are Replaced by Those of Biopolitics

  • Political Science, Sociology
  • 2016
1 Perils of Civil Society: When Discourses of Human Rights are Replaced by Those of Biopolitics Abstract This paper will explore the limitations of liberal paradigm, which idealizes civil society as

"We are the people who do not count" Thinking the disruption of the biopolitics of abandonment

principle should not, in concrete practice, apply to the poor (Butler and Pithouse 2007, 2). Despite the frequency of these instances, nevertheless, as earlier chapters suggest, spaces of abandonment

Care policies as biopolicies Towards a cross-national comparative framework

From the 1970’s on, the concept of care has been used as a heuristic critical tool with regards to welfare studies, especially but not exclusivly by feminist scholars. In this contribution, we

Toward an Affirmative Biopolitics

This essay responds to German theorist Thomas Lemke’s call for a conversation between two distinct lines of reception of Foucault’s concept of biopolitics. The first line is comprised of sweeping

The Beginning of a Study of Biopower: Foucault’s 1978 Lectures at the Collège de France

While Foucault introduced the 1978 lecture course Security, Territory, Population as a study of biopower, the reception of the lectures has largely focused on other concepts, such as governmentality,