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New York University Press

Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction

Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction

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The first systematic overview of the notion of biopolitics and its relevance in contemporary theoretical debate

The biological features of human beings are now measured, observed, and understood in ways never before thought possible, defining norms, establishing standards, and determining average values of human life. While the notion of "biopolitics" has been linked to everything from rational decision-making and the democratic organization of social life to eugenics and racism, Thomas Lemke offers the very first systematic overview of the history of the notion of biopolitics, exploring its relevance in contemporary theoretical debates and providing a much needed primer on the topic.

Lemke explains that life has become an independent, objective and measurable factor as well as a collective reality that can be separated from concrete living beings and the singularity of individual experience. He shows how our understanding of the processes of life, the organizing of populations and the need to "govern" individuals and collectives lead to practices of correction, exclusion, normalization, and disciplining. In this lucidly written book, Lemke outlines the stakes and the debates surrounding biopolitics, providing a systematic overview of the history of the notion and making clear its relevance for sociological and contemporary theoretical debates.

Author: Thomas Lemke
Publisher: New York University Press
Published: 02/15/2011
Pages: 158
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.42lbs
Size: 8.22h x 5.58w x 0.47d
ISBN: 9780814752425

Review Citation(s):
Choice 10/01/2011

About the Author

Thomas Lemke is Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt. He is author of A Critique of Political Reason: Foucault's Analysis of Modern Governmentality and Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction.

Monica J. Casper is Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the School of Sociology and the Africana Studies Program at the University of Arizona. Her publications include Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility.

Lisa Jean Moore is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Purchase College, State University of New York. She is author of Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man's Most Precious Fluid and co-author of Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility and Buzz: Urban Beekeeping and the Power of the Bee. She is also co-editor of the collection The Body Reader and, with Monica Casper, oversees the series Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the Twenty-First Century for NYU Press.
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