Full-text: Birth of Biopolitics Chapter 1

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.


13 Responses

  1. Amazon is taking orders for a paperback, but there’s no mention of this at Palgrave: I suppose there’ll be a delay with that then. I’ve got a deadline looming, so time is of the essence: you haven’t heard any rumours of a wallet-saving paperback?

  2. I would think that’s an error. Last year’s Security, Territory, Population is not yet in paperback for example. But you never know. Try calling the publisher.

  3. If this release is anything like last year’s, as well, be prepared to wait until June before even getting the hardback… if memory serves, they had a april 1 release listed then, but they didn’t actually have the release party in the UK until June.

  4. Nightmare. Mind you, Hermeneutics of the Subject was on time: I gave a paper on Foucault and unreason in theology at a conference at the beginning of april, and was followed by someone giving a paper on Foucault and liminality with a copy in his hands. Embarassing…

  5. […] on neoliberalism (which were duly advertised here) is about to be published here. And, as mentioned here, the first chapter is freely available here. Great book — buy it now. No Comments Leave […]

  6. read it in French, stunning intuitions and clarity of style. Definitely, one of the best and most related to current developments of the College de France series. actually, the lesson 1 sums up pretty well Security, Territory and population. Absolutely worth reading.
    hope it will go out soon in English, it is very pricy though…

  7. […] bin ich ja mal wieder die letzte, die es mitschneidet;), aber hier lässt sich das erste kapitel (inkl. inhalt und index) von foucaults ‚birth of […]

  8. […] de France lectures in the late ’70s, Foucault explores neo-liberalism under the title, The Birth of Biopolitics.  In these lectures, Foucault claims that the key element that distinguishes liberalism from […]

  9. […] in his lectures on neo-liberalism, talks about changes in Governmentality, that is the manner or mentality through which people are […]

  10. […] Foucault, Michel (2008) – The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978- 79 […]

  11. […] critical reading of neoliberalism which Foucault developed in The Birth of Biopolitics elaborates a perspective which enables us to better understand the global world today from the […]

  12. […] Foucault, Michel (2008) – The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978- 79 […]

  13. […] Foucault, Michel (2008) – The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978- 79 […]

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