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Biopower & Biopolitics Discussion

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Alexandra Meeks

on 29 January 2015

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Transcript of Biopower & Biopolitics Discussion

Biopower
Both Craig Willse and Sealing Cheng suggest Neoliberalism should be understoon as a macro-historical development that has economic implications
& Neoliberalism
Transformation
CHANGING
FOCUS
SURPLUS LIFE
Neoliberalism as Biopolitics
Context Discussion Supplement
By: Alexandra Meeks
What elements stood out to you in the clip?
Think biopolitics. Think biopower.
Biopower refers to controls over life, denoting ‘what brought life and its mechanisms into the realm of explicit calculation and made knowledge-power an agent of transformation of human life’” - Foucault
THE DYNAMIC
How do you see a reiteration of dominant
interests in society? Ex: Gender, Race, Class
What types of people do you think are targeted by facets of biopower/biopolitics?
*Hint: Prison industries
Why is it necessary to be inclusive?

Do you think the industries
responsible for
working on behalf of the "excluded" are
doing a good job?
Any other limits of neoliberalism?
*Hint: Cheng's view of female's sexual limits
Anthropometric measurements of the skull and racial science:

The construction of an invidious evolutionary ladder with Africans at the bottom and Europeans at the top

The construction of stereotyped and bureaucratized divisions between ethnic groups

CENTRAL POINTS

Biopower is opposed to sovereign power which is expressed in right to kill (death sentence) or even a right of seizure. Foucault said that history moved from sovereign power to governmentality (policy based government) and that biopower was one of the examples of governmentality.

Biopower seeks to exert a positive influence on life, i.e. it endeavors to administer, optimize, and multiply it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations.

For example: measuring the size and distribution of populations, categorizing populations by gender, age, occupation, fertility, mortality, etc. are examples of how biopower works as a political form of control (ex: the census)

Any Questions?
Conclusion & Analysis
-There is a strong relationship between women's lack of feeling connected
to the community and their political engagement.
- Julie Zeilenger's A Little F'd Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word
Grow the sisterhood! Women's roles are maintained and perpetuated by men and women.
- Further research should be conducted because this is an issue that should be addressed
and challenged in order to create a more equal American political system.

What is the meaning of
'surplus life' to you?
"Neoliberal developments create vulnerable populations by polarizing resources and wealth, and concomitantly generate a set of humanitarian/human rights responses from the state and civil society. Rather than being a set of problems that are being held back or eliminated by a set of solutions, they seem to grow symbiotically together." - Sealing Cheng
The social construction of reality is VERY important to recognize...

Persons or groups form mental conceptions about the world, which over time come to act reciprocally, as though they were of the world.

When these conceptions are shared and standardized, they are said to be institutionalized and become part of the social world.

People’s knowledge and beliefs about the world become legitimized in society, and society is therefore said to be socially constructed.

Biopower in Action
Full transcript