The Biopolitical Imaginary of species-being

New paper by Mike Dillon and Luis Lobo-Guerrero.


This article revises Foucault’s account of biopolitics in the light of the impact of the molecular and digital revolutions on `the politics of life itself’. The confluence of the molecular and digital revolutions informationalizes life, providing an account of what it is to be a living thing in terms of complex adaptive and continuously emergent, informationally constituted, systems. Also revisiting Foucault’s The Order of Things and its interrogation of the modern analytics of finitude, the article argues that our contemporary politics of life is therefore distinguished by the quasi-transcendentals that now distinguish informationalized life: circulation, connectivity and complexity. Here, too, the article argues, the figure of Man, which once united the quasi-transcendentals of life, labour and language, is replaced by the contingency that now unites circulation, connectivity and complexity. Observing that a life of continuous emergence is also one in which production is continuously allied with destruction, such a life is lived as the continuous emergency of its own emergence. This account of contemporary biopolitics, together with its emergency of emergence, contrasts, in particular, with that offered by Agamben in his appropriation of Schmitt.

Dillon is the editor with Andrew Neal of a book I am about to read/review “Foucault on Politics, Security, and War.”


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