Dottoressa di ricerca

ciclo: XXXIV

supervisore: Luca Scuccimarra

Titolo della tesi: Biopolitics: reception of Foucault in Italian theory

The notion of biopolitics, encompassing the issue of the practice of power directed at the individual and his body, to the penetration of biopower over the entire population as a technique of biopolitics were revealed in their importance for contemporary philosophical debate largely thanks to the works of Agamben and Hardt and Negri, as well as other well-known names of Italian theory. The attention was returned and focused on the significance of Foucault's works, in which, describing the general strategy of power through the mechanisms of governing people since the eighteenth century, Foucault traced the place of biopolitics within the framework of neoliberal criticism. In the process that Foucault marks as the transformation of the criteria that normatively define human policy, our analysis will focus primarily on the question of the place of sovereignty and subjectivity. The statalization of the biological and orientation of the social body and its environment to maximize the capitalist increase extended to the whole life will be analized as opposed to the potential of Rousseau's revolutionary discourse. Foucault's opposition of legal and economic subject will prove to be significant for his critique of utilitarian direction of historical practices and governance techniques derived from the discourse of liberalism. The analysis of the relationship between sovereignty, biopolitics and subjectivity, emphasizing Foucault`s concept of the care of the self, will show the intertwining between his understanding of ethics, political engagement and philosophical thinking. The second part will be dedicated to Italian biopoliticians, Agamben and Negri, as well as Roberto Esposito. The analysis of similarities and differences in the reception of Foucault in their biopolitical theories will question whether there is quid proprium of Italian theory. Agamben's perspective of the relationship between law and violence, the concept of bare life and designation of camp as a biopolitical paradigm of the West will show the importance of position of sovereignty in his theory for the question of subjectivity. His choice of the refugee figure representing non-citizen and the concept of whatever singularities as new non-subjects of the coming community, indicate Agamben`s post-subjectivist and post-political thinking . Opposing his view on future community, based on the ethics of the testimony and the sufficient life, to political challenges, will clarify whether the issue of the postmodern discourse present in his vision of pure humanity remain futile in the attempt to explain the most significant contemporary biopolitical phenomena. Further, we`ll consider Hardt and Negri`s view on biopolitical production, showing numerous examples of their awareness of the problems of contemporary Western political practice, and problematize their models of the ontological production of the multitude. We`ll reassess their representation of the Empire, focusing on the claim that imperialism has been replaced by supranational, legal institutions. Esposito`s conceptualization of the immunitary paradigm will be re-examined as a step toward an "affirmative biopolitics", as well as his philosophy of the impersonal, especially in comparison with the ideas found in Kafka, Simone Weil and Sloterdijk. His deconstruction of political philosophy, proposal of ontology as institutent though and analysis of political-theological apparatuses will question ability of his theory to offer the political response to the political-institutional crisis. By analyzing works of these authors, from which the position attributed to biopower and biopolitics is sometimes obvious and sometimes implicit, we will show that in Foucault's critique of biopolitics it could be find necessary instruments to build a specific political project that could interprets and responds to biopolitical phenomena today, while the same cannot be said for the post-Foucauldian approaches to biopolitics we have analyzed (Agamben, Hardt and Negri, Esposito). Despite the significant insights offered by their theoretical discourses, it seems that these authors based on the arbitrary aspects of Foucault's analysis, developed their own theoretical discourses, and in fact abandoned Foucault's genealogical-critical project.

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