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Re: <nettime> Agamben: No to Bio-Political Tattooing
Eugene Thacker on Wed, 21 Jan 2004 01:47:55 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Agamben: No to Bio-Political Tattooing

Hi all - maybe some nettimers can sort some of this out...

I really like Agamben's work on biopolitics, especially his point regarding 
the 'state of exception' that his definition of sovereignty represents. And, 
I have to say, as someone living in the US, it is embarassing to witness the 
(technological) extremes to which the federal gov't goes in the name of 
'national security'. It's hard not to read Agamben without thinking about 
the biopolitical - even biomedical - war on terror and disease (often the 
Bush White House makes little distinction between them).

But a part of me is also wondering if this isn't always the case; if the 
notion that political sovereignty functions through a permanent state of 
exception/emergency is simply a constitutive part of the way that 'the body 
politic' has been formulated since Plato (I was thinking of Plato's 
description of democracy as indigestion/disease in the Republic).

What I miss from _Homo Sacer_ is two things: a historicizing of the "bio" 
part of biopolitics (is biopolitics different in the era of Darwin that it 
is in the era of genetics?), and then I also miss an economic critique in 
the formulation of sovereignty-as-exception, or at least some explicit link 
between politics and political economy (the globalism of biotech, GM foods, 
drugs/health care, seem to be good case studies in this regard)...


Eugene Thacker, PhD
Literature, Communication, & Culture
Georgia Institute of Technology

eugene.thacker {AT} lcc.gatech.edu

Quoting miguel leal <ml {AT} virose.pt>:

> Dear Louise:
> What a mess! And I think you are a little bit confused about 
> bio-politics and agamben's writings. Agamben a revisionist? Did you 
> really read it?

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