ANTH 227 Lecture Notes - Lecture 19: Biopower, Biopolitics, Legal Realism

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27 Nov 2012
Department
Course
Professor
Biopower
Foucault
What does he mean by it
Rabinow
How does he take up Foucault's notion and how does he transform it
Rose
How in contrast to Rabinow
Block IV is about contrasting Rose and Rabinow
Less focused about nature vs culture
More on social and the vital
One hand is society, other hand is biology
Block V will be about authors that want to get rid of nature/culture distinction
Details
We cannot take society as a given (life itself either)
Not to begin with anthro certainty but with curiosity
Instead of assuming humans are social beings, one could ask when the concept of society
emerge
Since when are we considered social beings
Since when is medicine and medically relevant biology integrated into social politics?
Time specific politics
What was politics before? What did they consist of?
If we could think differently before "society" was around, then we can think differently now
Since when are we considered biological beings?
Michel Foucault
"What difference does today make with respect to yesterday"
Are new things happening today?
New meaning we can't understand them with established concepts (like IVF)
They upset the logical coherence that organizes our existing concepts
Chair of the history of systems of thought
He was thinking about thinking
Biopower
Marginal concept
Not taken up by others before mid 1990's
Since, it's been a major concept in anthro studies of medicine and life
sciences
As if life itself has entered politics
Focused on human life as biogenetic beings
"If biology was unknown, [...] life itself did not exist" (in the 18th century)
Life itself as a concept was not existing, as biology did not exist either
He notices that after 1790, humans are becoming biological beings
Radical novelty then
Instead of writing the history of the past in our modern terms, he writes the
history of our modern terms (the history of the present)
He focuses on the breaking open of new conceptual epistemological space
One that was not there before
Only once biology emerged, could humans come into view as biological
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