Bio-politics and biopower are big issues right now. I don’t know how many articles I’ve seen recently that examine something through the notion of these concepts. Part of the reason seems to be that Giorgio Agamben picked them up from Foucault.
Both terms are used extensively as keywords in this year’s AAG Meetings.
Of particular interest are a small group of papers recently published, that use these notions to analyze borders and spatial partitioning, and the related issue of security (or “biosecurity”). For instance, this month’s Progress in Human Geography has an article by Jouni Hakli on Biometric Identities. He talks about the US VISIT program, and the “symbolic violence” being done to passengers due to bio-profiling.
See also L. Amoore 2006. Biometric Borders: Governing Mobilities in the War on Terror. Political Geography 25 (3): 336-351.
Alatout had a similar piece last year in Political Geography (Alatout, S. 2006. Towards a Bio-Territorial Conception of Power: Territory, Population, and Environmental Narratives in Palestine and Israel. Political Geography 25 (6): 601-621.)
These schemes are attracting attention because they place the body into a political matrix using biometrics (interestingly, the government is clear about this as their webpage, biometrics.gov, shows).
Here are 28 articles that use the term “bio-politics” (or just “biopolitics”) in their title, keywords or abstract (from Scopus).
Bashford, A. 2006. Global biopolitics and the history of world health. History of the Human Sciences 19, no. 1: 67-88.
Biehl, J., D. Coutinho, and A. L. Outeiro. 2001. Technology and affect: HIV/AIDS testing in Brazil. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 25, no. 1: 87-129.
Boldureanu, D., C. Alexandru, and G. Andruseac. 2001. Analysis of attitudes about abortion. Revista medico-chirurgicala a Societatii de Medici si Naturalisti din Iasi 105, no. 1: 157-160.
Bourgois, P. 2000. Disciplining addictions: The bio-politics of methadone and heroin in the United States. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 24, no. 2: 165-195.
Buckingham, J. 2006. Patient welfare vs. the health of the nation: Governmentality and sterilisation of leprosy sufferers in early post-colonial India. Social History of Medicine 19, no. 3: 483-499.
Bull, M. 1996. Power and addiction: The making of the modern addict. Australian Journal of Social Issues 31, no. 2: 191-208.
Caple James, E. 2004. The political economy of ‘trauma’ in Haiti in the democratic era of insecurity. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 28, no. 2: 127-149.
Charkiewicz, E. 2005. Corporations, the UN and Neo-liberal Bio-politics. Development 48, no. 1: 75-83.
Crowley, U. M. 2005. Liberal rule through non-liberal means: The attempted settlement of Irish Travellers (1955-1975). Irish Geography 38, no. 2: 128-150.
Dennis, D. 1997. AIDS and the new medical gaze: Bio-politics, AIDS, and homosexuality. Journal of Homosexuality 32, no. 3-4: 169-184.
Ek, R. 2006. Giorgio Agamben and the spatialities of the camp: An introduction. Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography 88, no. 4: 363-386.
Gandy, M. 2006. Zones of indistinction: Bio-political contestations in the urban arena. Cultural Geographies 13, no. 4: 497-516.
Goodman, D. 2001. Ontology Matters: The Relational Materiality of Nature and Agro-food Studies. Sociologia Ruralis 41, no. 2: 182-200.
Goodman, D. 1999. Agro-food studies in the ‘Age of Ecology’: Nature, corporeality, bio-politics. Sociologia Ruralis 39, no. 1: 17-38.
Kjølsrød, L., E. Thornquist. 2004. From a liberal occupation to an occupation of the welfare state: Norwegian physiotherapy 1960-2000. Acta Sociologica 47, no. 3: 277-289.
Lacombe, D. 1996. Reforming Foucault: A critique of the social control thesis. British Journal of Sociology 47, no. 2: 332-352.
Lemke, T. 2001. ‘The birth of bio-politics’: Michel Foucault’s lecture at the Collège de France on neo-liberal governmentality. Economy and Society 30, no. 2: 190-207.
Muller, B. 2004. Globalization, security, paradox: Towards a refugee biopolitics. Refuge 22, no. 1: 49-57.
Phelps, C. F. 1984. Bio-politics and the mature professional. Natural resource administration : 147-154.
Philo, C. 2005. Sex, life, death, geography: Fragmentary remarks inspired by ‘Foucault’s population geographies’. Population, Space and Place 11, no. 4: 325-333.
Pottage, A. 1998. The inscription of life in law: genes, patents, and bio-politics. The Modern law review 61, no. 5: 740-765.
Pullman, D. 2005. Research governance, bio-politics and political will: recent lessons from Newfoundland and Labrador. Health law review. 13, no. 2-3: 75-79.
Sandstrom, K. L. 2005. What is the truth of death and dying? Reflections on Fulton, Foucault, and Finitude. Illness Crisis and Loss 13, no. 1: 63-73.
Tallio, V. 2006. Humanitarian assistance as a mean of implementing a territory. The example of the Angolan refugee camp of Nkondo in D.R.C. Bulletin d’Association de Geographes Francais 83, no. 1: 39-49.
Turner, B. S. 2006. Body. Theory, Culture and Society 23, no. 2-3: 223-229.
Van Der Ploeg, I. 2003. Biometrics and governance. 2003 International Symposium on Technology and Society: Crime Prevention, Security and Design, ISTAS/CPTED 2003 – Proceedings 25.
Wahlberg, A. 2006. Bio-politics and the promotion of traditional herbal medicine in Vietnam. Health 10, no. 2: 123-147.
Weiss, M. 1998. Conditions of mothering: The bio-politics of falling in love with your child. Social Science Journal 35, no. 1: 87-105.