Palgrave Macmillan have made available the first chapter (in pdf) of the Birth of Biopolitics. The book itself is due to be published on April 4, 2008 so this is a nice sneak preview.
The pdf also includes the Table of Contents and the Index of Concepts and Notions.
Foucault says his course will be about liberalism as political economy:
I thought I could do a course on biopolitics this year. I will try to show how the central core of all the problems that I am presently trying to identify is what is called population. Consequently, this is the basis on which something like biopolitics could be formed. But it seems to me that the analysis of biopolitics can only get under way when we have understood the general regime of this governmental reason I have talked about, this general regime that we can call the question of truth,
of economic truth in the first place, within governmental reason.
Consequently, it seems to me that it is only when we understand what
is at stake in this regime of liberalism opposed to raison d’État—or
rather, fundamentally modifying [it] without, perhaps, questioning its
bases—only when we know what this governmental regime called liberalism was, will we be able to grasp what biopolitics is.
So, forgive me, for some weeks—I cannot say in advance how many—I
will talk about liberalism. In this way, it may become a bit clearer what is at stake in this—for, after all, what interest is there in talking about liberalism, the physiocrats, d’Argenson, Adam Smith, Bentham, and the
English utilitarians, if not because the problem of liberalism arises for us in our immediate and concrete actuality? What does it mean when we speak of liberalism when we apply a liberal politics to ourselves, today, and what relationship may there be between this and those questions of right that we call freedoms or liberties? What is going on in all this, in today’s debate in which Helmut Schmidt’s18 economic principles bizarrely echo the voice of dissidents in the East, in this problem of liberty, of liberalism? Fine, it is a problem of our times. So, if you like, after having situated the historical point of origin of all this by bringing out what, according to me, is the new governmental reason from the eighteenth century, I will jump ahead and talk about contemporary German liberalism since, however paradoxical it may seem, liberty in the second half of the twentieth century, well let’s say more accurately, liberalism, is a word that comes to us from Germany.
Filed under: Lectures