Biopolitics in the Time of Coronavirus

Daniele Lorenzini on Biopolitics in the Time of Coronavirus

In the Moment

Daniele Lorenzini

In a recent blog post, Joshua Clover rightly notices the swift emergence of a new panoply of “genres of the quarantine.” It should not come as a surprise that one of them centers on Michel Foucault’s notion of biopolitics, asking whether or not it is still appropriate to describe the situation that we are currently experiencing. Neither should it come as a surprise that, in virtually all of the contributions that make use of the concept of biopolitics to address the current coronavirus pandemic, the same bunch of rather vague ideas are mentioned over and over again, while other—no doubt more interesting—Foucauldian insights tend to be ignored. In what follows, I discuss two of these insights, and I conclude with some methodological remarks on the issue of what it may mean to “respond” to the current “crisis.”

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThe “Blackmail” of Biopolitics

The first point that I would…

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1 Response to Biopolitics in the Time of Coronavirus

  1. dmf says:

    and of course there is no evidence that any of our state or federal governments are capable of managing anything like well run emergency services/responses let alone a more radical restructuring, the focus on “grammar” rather than practices betrays everything we learned from STS/ANT about how things actually happen (are ordered ) off the page, beyond the merely academic…

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