Terms of the Political: Community, Immunity, Biopolitics

Terms of the Political: Community, Immunity, Biopolitics

Terms of the Political: Community, Immunity, Biopolitics

Terms of the Political: Community, Immunity, Biopolitics

Excerpt

Foucault once said that political theory had still not reckoned with the end of sovereign power. In like fashion, one can say that political theory is only just now starting to confront itself and its languages with the consequences caused by the entrance of biology and biological considerations into questions of government. Roberto Esposito is perhaps the contemporary thinker who has gone furthest in questioning the traditional categories of political thought in light of the emergence of biopolitics. In this accessible collection of essays, he presents his own philosophical enterprise in terms of bridging deconstruction with biopolitics. Esposito is perhaps best known for his project of deconstructing the categories of modern political thought—all of which turn around the idea of immunity—by appealing to the subversive potential of the idea of community. In his recently translated volume Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy, he embarks on the project of providing an affirmative biopolitics. But what is the connection between the question of biopolitics and the fact of community? How can biopolitics help us identify the limits and possibilities of community? What is the urgency of this question today? In this introduction I shall try to indicate how these essays move from a deconstruction of modernity’s individualism toward a new affirmative biopolitics of community. Several commentators have recently argued that Esposito’s understanding of biopolitics turns on the relation . . .

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