domingo, 13 de marzo de 2011


The question is now what result from the interesting mingling between all neurofenomenology (maturana, varela), biosemiotics, and the new neurosciences (mirror neurons, echolocation, stem neural cells in adults, conversation neurons, abduction, multiple intelligences, web 2.0, Mathieu Ricard, social intelligence in bacteria, horizontal gene transfer, matristic heredity of mithocondria, "matricondria," and chloroplasts,...)

I freel we are in the era of symbiopower, where science converges with millenay matristic social practises, and thus it is wellcoming the ineludible individual empowerment, through commons sense, shamanism and sensosphere...

Biopoder (en castellano)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Biopower was a term coined by French philosopher Michel Foucault to refer to the practice of modern states and their regulation of their subjects through "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations." Foucault first used it in his courses at the Collège de France[1][2] but the term first appeared in The Will To Knowledge, Foucault's first volume of The History of Sexuality.[3] In both Foucault's work and the work of later theorists it has been used to refer to practices of public health, regulation of heredity, and risk regulation (François Ewald), among many other things often linked less directly with literal physical health. It is closely related to a term he uses much less frequently, but which subsequent thinkers have taken up independently, biopolitics.



[edit]Pre-Foucault usage of Biopolitics

Although Michel Foucault is the name primarily connected with the concept of biopower and bio-politics, the term was in fact used tentatively as early as 1911 written in a little known magazine (the article entitled biopolitics) called The New Age,by G.W.Harris and then in 1938 byMorley Roberts (1857–1942) in his relatively unknown book bipolitics.[4] Whether Foucault already knew about the term,or whether he thought it was brand new to him or his audience is unknown. But it seems that the concept pre-dates his use of the term by at least 70 years or more when he started to introduce the concept to his audience from his lectures.[5]

According to Albert Somit (the current editor of Research In Biopolitics series [6]), by 1972 the literature of biopolitics contained at least some 40 different items. And by the time that Foucault used the phrase in his famous lectures at the College de France between January and April 1979,[7] according to Somit, there were several different approaches to the concept of biopolitics.[8]: 1. The case for a biologically oriented political science. 2. The ethological aspects of political behavior. 3. Physiological and psychopharmaceutical aspects of political behaviour. 4. Issues of public policy raised by recent advances in biology.[9] Foucault then offers from his lectures his conclusions from both the schools of thought of the twentieth century from this time; neo-liberalism, German ordoliberalism (the Frankfurt School) and the Chicago school (sociology)

..."It is-as both condition and final end-that makes it possible to no longer ask: How can one govern as much as possible at the least possible cost? Instead,the question becomes:Why must one govern? That is to say: What makes government necessary, and what ends must it pursue with regard to society in order to justify its own existence? It is the idea of society which permits the development of a technology of government based on the principle that it is already in itself "too much","excessive"-or at least that it is added as a supplement whose necessity and usefulness can and must always be question...".[10]

Foucault then takes on the concept into a different direction by positioning it between biological processes,the control of human populations through political means government and management of whole human populations (bio) and politics(polis),essentially this is Foucault's meaning of biopolitics; human biology and its amalgamation with politics. Foucault then situates liberalism's take on society where liberalism sees the state and society as an societal organism(neoliberalism never mentions it in any of their narratives nor is it ever mention by name as it is automatically assumed by liberalism that state organization was automatically,ingrained in the human psyche in the guise of an invisible organic whole called the Body politic,where all humans are involved regardless of their class position) capable of producing,multiplying,reproducing and if necessary,having a destructive capability.Foucault's disciples(Giorgio Agamben),etc now offer a chilling account and new meaning to this biopower and its destructive capability;the so called Thanatopolitics,the politics of death an intersection between biopolitics a conception of that individualizing power which constructs the subjectivity of subjects,which has the power to make live and let die from the indivduals perspective,which contrasts differently from the sovereign power(the executive power),which has the power to right to live and make die.Where the sword of Damocles is quite literally held over society's head where:"an absolutization of the biopower to make live intersected with the absolute generalization of the Sovereign power to make die.[11][12]"Consequently even the deaths of those in Auschwitz,Belson where the concentration camps were in affect,quite literally death camps of organized slaughter including the other concentration camps around the world during world war 2 these brutal deaths signified a stark,brutish and cruel reality;"The power inThanatopolitics rests in the degradation of death,where in Auschwitz people did not die,rather corpses were produced,corpses without death,non-humans whose decease is debased into a matter of serial production.[13]"This kind of senseless butchery and murder can be justified both politically and morally(rather paradoxically)through the justice system(the so called Nuremberg Trials) without any recourse to 'justice',made to be internalized as collective consciousness encoded as memory through shared common experience Remembrance Day,Armistice Day for example,where it is frowned upon if you don't wear a Poppy particularly if you are a high profile famous Statesman (a politician),or a celebrity in public appearances on television this is then effectively passed on to future generations in the guise of ceremony’s,monuments and memorials.The purpose of this intersection and cross amalgamation is twofold;first it serves as a warning to future generations "watch it you could be next" fear is its ultimate purpose through the aegis of the victor.Secondly,it serves as a deterrent to future events,but can also be resurrected and act as a rallying cry for the next conflict into the future.A crime or a singular event of horrendous proportions serves as a temp plate (such as the holocaust for example) this crime or event had to have a label something to attach itself to,or more importantly something to apportion blame.The term Genocide,coined by lawyer Raphael Lemkin serves as good example which forms memory,memory meaning here of no origin you are required to remember the word and learn its meaning,not its origin.[14] However, beneath all of this amidst all the carnage and slaughter Foucault gives us a reminder of those who took part in the blood shed by the users and those ultimately responsible for the productive resources operations,through no fault of their own,in order to replicate themselves as consumers through being in the unfortunate position of membership of the working population unwittingly there must be seen essentially a systematic position however clandestinely operated,without disruption taking place of economic productivity and activity which still has to take place in a smooth,transitory and unfussy way this then takes on a new meaning which Foucault offers us a chilling reminder of those who take part in this naive complicity in which he introduces to us the concept of Homo economicus (economic man)

..."With regard to Homo oeconomicus,one must laisser-faire;he is the subject or object of laissez-faire.And now,in Becker's (Gary Becker [15]) definition which I have just given,Homo oeconomicus,that is to say,the person who accepts reality or who responds systematically to modifications in the variables of the environment,appears precisely as someone manageable,someone who responds systematically to systematic modifications artificially introduced into the environment.Homo oeconomicus is someone who is eminently governable.From being the intangible partner of laissez-faire,homo oeconomicus now becomes the correlate of a governmentality which will act on the environment and systematically modify its variables..."[16]

This discovery of Homo oeconomicus allowed the removal of the sovereign from economic affairs and allowed a societal conception of economic process;the so called 'Invisible hand' of the market coined by Adam Smith to be 'rationally' justified politically (it is no secret that from this period of the 18th century political representation for the industrial working population in the form of representative democracy was coming to the fore[17]),this would,while paradoxically,maximise the eventual target of economic liberalism for government permanently intervention to produce,multiply,and guarantee the freedoms required by economic liberalism.[18] Foucault then briefly touches on B F Skinner;[19][20][21](the founder of Radical behaviorism),and Robert Castel but unfortunately it is very brief however,in Foucault defence, he himself does admit 'there is little literature' available in France on these techniques,however,to be critical,Foucault did belong to the most prestigious academic institutions in Europe (Collège de France) with unprecedented access to many journals[22][23][24] in France and it would be unlikely that they would be unavailable to him.This is a slight point to make but a valid one when considering that he was effectively the 'master of the archive'and was brilliant at excavating 'obscure material'[25][26] Foucault concentrates more on neo-liberalisms political justification for state existence,rather than Skinners techniques on controlling human behavior through controlling the mind Manuel Castellswhile operating in the field of Social Science dares to venture outside the limited field of Social Science which he notice in his brilliant work Communication Power where

..."The brain and the body-proper constitute one organism connected by neural networks activated by chemical signals circulating in the blood stream and electro-chemical signals sent through nerve pathways.So,the mind proceeds by networking patterns in the brain with patterns of our sensorial perception that drive from coming into contact with the networks of Matter,energy and activity that constitute our experience,past,present,and future(by anticipation of consequences of certain signals according to images stored in the brain).We are networks connected to a world of networks..."[27][28][29]

[30][31][32] It is clear then that any standard neuroscience journal will show you this,it is not the body but the Mind,as is often thought by Foucault and the Postmodernism movement,both thought that the body(not the mind),[33] an often repeated mistake a simple mistake,but a crucial one.To get to the body the mind had to be rendered docile,not the body,this error is due to the standard Social Science model an incorrect view which still persist to this day,that the mind and body,the so called Mind–body problem,or in philosophical circles Dualism (philosophy of mind)) were separate and somehow in conflict with one another which needed to be controlled (within whole populations rendering populations docile) which was what Foucault's original concept of biopower was primarily concerned with.While Foucault's concept of Biopower is both evocative thought-provoking (and in some cases somewhat controversial in some quarters) and powerful it is this slight mistake which shouldn't postpone more research on the subject.The biggest challenge to Foucault's sympathetic disciples and independent researchers is this:Can they penetrate (as it stands now) the in-amenable impenetrable discourse that has been erected around the modern 'rational' nation state(Rational choice theory,Sociobiology,Evolutionary psychology,Evolutionary stable strategy,Political science andFoundationalism).In doing so can they decode(which the above mention 'social sciences' cannot) the modern power structure and show how it is encoded and woven into these various different cultural social practices and techniques that has been used as a discourse which has been presented over several millennium where explanation of the state is placed on a rational sober footing?Exactly like the Natural sciences,as opposed to the Social Sciences where claims can be reduced to fact, rigorous approach is seen as hard work,not polemicist point scoring and guess work.It is certainly not insurmountable where for once there is no room for doubt moving from the shaky and fragile process of descriptive narrative to the sound and solid method of explanation.That is the fundamental challenge that any future theorist should now face.

[edit]Foucault and The Concept of Biopower

For Foucault, biopower, is a technology of power, which is a way of managing people as a group. The distinctive quality of this political technology is that it allows for the control of entire populations. It is thus essential to the emergence of the modern nation state, moderncapitalism, etc.[34] Biopower is literally having power over other bodies, "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations".[35] Foucault then goes on to further elaborate in his now famous lectures at the College de France between January and April 1978

..."By this I mean a number of phenomena that seem to me to be quite significant,namely,the set of mechanisms through which the basic biological features of the human species became the object of a political strategy,of a general strategy of power,or,in other words,how,starting from the 18th century,modern Western societies took on board the fundamental biological fact that human beings are a species.This is what I have called biopower"....[36]

It relates to the government's concern with fostering the life of the population, and centers on the poles of discipline ("an anatomo-politics of the human body") and regulatory controls ("a biopolitics of the population").

Biopower for Foucault contrasts with traditional modes of power based on the threat of death from a sovereign. In an era where power must be justified rationally, biopower is utilized by an emphasis on the protection of life rather than the threat of death, on the regulation of the body, and the production of other technologies of power, such as the notion of sexuality. Regulation of customs, habits, health, reproductive practices, family, "blood", and "well-being" would be straightforward examples of biopower, as would any conception of the state as a "body" and the use of state power as essential to its "life". Hence the conceived relationship between biopower, eugenics and state racism.

With the concept of "biopower", which first appears in courses concerning the discourse of "race struggle", Foucault develops a holistic account of power, in opposition to the classic understanding of power as basically negative, and akin to censorship. Sexuality, he argues, far from having been reduced to silence during the Victorian Era, was in fact subjected to a "sexuality dispositif" (or "mechanism"), which incites and even forced the subject to speak about their sex. Thus, "sexuality does not exist", it is a discursive creation, which makes us believe that sexuality contains our personal truth (in the same way that the discourse of "race struggle" sees the truth of politics and history in the everlasting subterranean war which takes place beneath the so-called peace).

Furthermore, the exercise of power in the service of maximizing life carries a dark underside. When the state is invested in protecting the life of the population, when the stakes are life itself, anything can be justified. Groups identified as the threat to the existence of the life of the nation or of humanity can be eradicated with impunity. "If genocide is indeed the dream of modern power, this is not because of the recent return to the ancient right to kill; it is because power is situated and exercised at the level of life, the species, the race, and the large-scale phenomena of the population." [37]

[edit]See also

[edit]Further reading

  • Research in Biopolitics: Sexual Politics and Political Feminism Volume 1 Editor Albert Somit (1991)
  • Research in Biopolitics: Biopolitics and the Mainstream: Contributions of Biology to Political Science Volume 2 Editor Albert Somit (1994)
  • Research in Biopolitics:Human Nature and Politics Volume 3 Editors Steven A.Peterson Albert Somit (1995)
  • Research in Biopolitics:Research in Biopolitics Volume 4 Editors Albert Somit Steven A.Peterson (1996)
  • Research in Biopolitics:Recent Explorations in Biology and Politics Volume 5 Editors Albert Somit Steven A.Peterson (1997)
  • Research In Bipolitics:Sociobiology and Politics Volume 6 Editors Albert Somit Steven A.Peterson (1998)
  • Research In Bipolitics:Ethnic Conflicts Explained By Ethnic Nepotism Editors Albert Somit Steven A.Peterson Volume 7 (1999)
  • Research In Bipolitics:Evolutionary Approaches In The Behavioral Sciences:Toward A Better Understanding Of Human Nature Editors Steven A.Peterson Albert Somit Volume 8 (2001)
  • Research In Biopolitics:Biology and Political Behavior: The Brain, Genes and Politics - the Cutting Edge Editor Albert Somit Volume 9 (2011)


  1. ^ Michel Foucault: Security,Territory,Poulation:Lectures At The College de France 1977-1978 pp.1-4 See Notes on p.24 Notes,1-4(2007)
  2. ^ Michel Foucault:Society Must Be Defended Lectures At The College de France 1975-1976 p.243 (2003)
  3. ^ Foucault, Michel (1998) The History of Sexuality Vol.1: The Will to Knowledge. London: Penguin
  4. ^ Morley Roberts Biopolitics:an essay in the physiology,pathology and politics of the social and somatic organism 1938
  5. ^ A Conceptual History of Biopolitics The Notion of Biopolitics Before Foucault
  6. ^ Biology and Political Behavior: The Brain, Genes and Politics - the Cutting Edge Research In Biopolitics Volume 9 (2011)
  7. ^ Michel Foucault: The Birth Of Biopolitics Lectures at The College de France 1978-1979 (2008)
  8. ^ Review Article:Bioploitics B.J.Pol.S.,2: 209-238 (1972)
  9. ^ B.J.Pol.S (1972)
  10. ^ Michel Foucault The Birth Of Biopolitics p.319 (2008)
  11. ^ Jessica Auchter Thanatopolitics: Language, Naming, and the Right to Memorialize (2010)
  12. ^ Thanatopolitics: On the Use of Death for Mobilizing Political Life (2005)
  13. ^ Thanatopolitics: Language, Naming, and the Right to Memorialize (2010)
  14. ^ Thanatopolitics: Language, Naming, and the Right to Memorialize(2010)
  16. ^ Michel Foucault The Birth of Bioplitics pp.270-271(2008)
  17. ^ "We the Peoples? The Birth and Premature Death of Self-Determination
  18. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp.268-286 (2008)
  19. ^ B.F.Skinner Some thoughts about the future J Exp Anal Behav. 1986 March; 45(2): 229–235
  20. ^ B.F.Skinner Some issues concerning the control of human behavior Science 1956 Vol 124(3231)pp.1057-1066
  21. ^ B.F.Skinner Some factors involved in the stimulus control of operant behavior journal of the experimental analysis of behavior January 1958; 1(1): 103-107
  22. ^ Michel Foucault The Birth Of Biopolitics (2008) p.132 see Note 2 p.151
  23. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics p.138
  24. ^ The Birth Of Biopolitics pp.142-144
  25. ^ The Oxford companion to philosophy:Editor Ted Honderich p.310 (2005)
  26. ^ The Birth Of Biopolitics p.270 (2008)
  27. ^ Manuel Castells Communication Power pp.138-139 (2009)
  28. ^ Communication Power pp.137-193 (2009)
  29. ^ Journal Of Communication Volume 60(2) June 2010 pp.E1-E5
  30. ^ Operant Conditioning as a Means of Testing the Ability of White-Crowned Sparrows To Discriminate Star Patterns J. Exp. Biol. 1972 56: 755-768
  31. ^ Social domination increases neuronal survival in the brain of juvenile crayfish Procambarus clarkii J. Exp. Biol. 2007 210: 1311-1324
  32. ^ The Structural Basis of an Innate Behavioural Pattern J. Exp. Biol. 1984 112: 283-319
  33. ^ Technics and the Human Sensorium: Rethinking Media Theory through the Body Theory & Event Volume 13, Issue 4, 2010
  34. ^ - Policante, A. "War against Biopower: Timely Reflections on an Historicist Foucault", Theory & Event, 13.1 March 2010.
  35. ^ Foucault, Michel (1998) The History of Sexuality Vol.1: The Will to Knowledge. London: Penguin. p. 140
  36. ^ Michel Foucault:Security,Territory,Population p.1 (2007)
  37. ^ The History Of Sexuality Volume 1 p.137
  • Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended
  • Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population
  • Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
  • Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire
  • Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude

[edit]External links

  • Policante, A. "War against Biopower: Timely Reflections on an Historicist Foucault", Theory & Event, 13.1 March 2010. [1]

Accessed 3 March 2011

  • The New Age

Volume 10, Number 9 Biopolitics p. 197 London: The New Age Press, Ltd., 29-12-1911

  • Culture Machine eJournal Volume 7 (2005):Biopolitics Special edition on Biopolitics

Edited by Melinda Cooper, Andrew Goffey and Anna Munster

Accessed 2 March 2011

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