Foucault on Politics, Security and War
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Foucault on Politics, Society and War interrogates Foucault's controversial genealogy of modern biopolitics. These essays situate Foucault's arguments, clarify the correlation of sovereign and bio-power and examine the relation of bios, nomos and race in relation to modern war.
mechanisms of power are essentially mechanisms of repression, and at the alternative hypothesis that what is rumbling away and what is at work beneath political power is essentially and above all a warlike relation. (p. 17) Here, then, we find Foucault posing the problem of war as a generative principle of force relations that account for modern political orders not in the form of an ontological claim as defines the works on war of Deleuze and Guattari, as well as the early work of Paul Virilio,
subjectivities with the means of war and state terror, these thinkers have insisted on responding with their own wars of resistance. The fundamental question that each of their politics turns on is that of how to assume war as a condition of possibility for the constitution and generation of resistance to a given regime of power. What form does life take when peace is no longer its foundation but its enemy? Against such polemologies, we find the Foucault of “Society Must Be Defended” posing the
not lasted very long, given the rise of passionate nineteenth-century nationalism and its much more murderous twentieth century successors. Given Foucault’s strenuous efforts to differentiate genealogy from Marxist critique, it is likely that Foucault did not want to even engage with Althusser and others (Poulantzas, Milliband, etc.) involved in the then-new ‘theories of the state’ debate. He had a different project: he wanted to use the blood-and-glory writings to try to understand the roots of
includes both life and its government. The rule of life is nonetheless different, however, from the rule of the sovereign. While related to both sovereignty and subjectivity, biology is nonetheless also different from both. If Foucault’s greatest contribution to the analytic of power and politics in the modern period has been the many ways in which he has alerted us to the diverse, heterogeneous and dynamic character of the power relations to which we are subject as moderns, we have to remind
‘war on terror’ as well as throughout immigration and asylum policies. But one has to be clear about what ‘life’ comes to mean under this emergent biopolitical regime. II. Species life ‘Le genre humain’ to ‘espèce humaine’. (Foucault, 2007: p. 75) The human can be classified in many ways, indeed the term ‘human’ is itself a form of classification. Foucault was interested in what happens to politics and power relations, and why in particular does race become such an integral mechanism of power,