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Lecture 19

Lecture 19 - Nov.20th

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ANTH 227
Tobias Rees

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 beings, right? Biology is not a stable concept It changes over time It has anthro consequences He focuses on knowledge Bio is a new form of knowledge, which allows to know humans in a new way To govern them in new ways and to engage in politics in new ways e.g. Public health He says that nothing is politicized (unlike most people think) The idea that humans are bio beings is bringing its own type of politics Note
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