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Twenty-First Century Biopolitics

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Bogdana Koljevic

What are phenomena of contemporary biopolitics in the twenty-first century? Foucault’s theory of biopolitics as neoliberalism is opposed to post-political theories developed by Agamben, Hardt and Negri and as such – more instructive. Because microstrategy of power is not Foucault’s final word on politics, political genealogy opens the space for creative and local critique of biopolitics. And if military interventions, terrorism and wars against terrorism are exemplary phenomena of biopolitics, bellum justum is a contradictio in adjecto. In response to such biopolitics, the relation between sovereignty and democracy is re-examined and we are entering a time of small revolutions.
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From International Terrorism To International Institutions: Liberal Interventionism Or Post-Liberal Internationalism?

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What are, after all, the phenomena of biopolitics in the present? What does a contemporary genealogy look like, since it seems that this genealogy appears as an exemplary question of political philosophy? The issue is how the politization of life is happening both in political discourses and politics per se. Consequently, such analysis will equally relate to potentialities of political subjectivity. Liberal power over life, in last decades of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century shows itself in a series of wars and interventions, but, no less significantly, in the preservation of empty space in respect to articulation of its actions. This way, its manifestation concerns not only the level of Realpolitik, but, perhaps even more, the level of conceptualization that has enabled and produced post-politics. Moreover, this is precisely what Foucault has called the regime of truth of biopolitics, as the instance of thinking in power practice of dominance – which he articulated as multiplicities of the manifestation of the discourse of war.

The bottom line of contemporary phenomena of biopolitics, therefore, lies in Foucault’s observation that contemporary wars are now being led “in the name of life” – biopolitics proper – and “in the name of peace”. Such wars are led for the biological survival of one population, in difference and opposition to the survival of the other population, which appears as the enemy. These wars are, most notably, manifested in the so-called interventions in numerous sovereign states, and in that sense...

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