Biopolitics as Paradigm of Comprehension of the Political Phenomenon in Contemporary Philosophy
One of the main problems of modern political philosophy is the understanding of the political boundaries. The reason is, that this problem appears due to the general postmodern setting. Nowadays, scholars are worried by the boundaries of man, the world, science, etc. Political philosophy also is not the exception, as it tries to find out the limits of the politics. Generally, this problem is ontological because one of its aspects is the way of human being in the political world. In fact, this problem is associated with the adoption of the biopolitical paradigm, which forms the ways of implementation and comprehension of modern politics. The implementation of biopolitics goes through the transformation of the limits of politics, as it was indicated by a number of modern philosophers, for example, Michel Foucault. Within the limits of the biopolitical paradigm a peculiar logic of the relationship between life and politics, which has a direct impact on the development of human society, develops.
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The Meaning of Biopolitics
The greatest popularity of the idea of biopolitics acquires after the lectures of M. Foucault, which he read in the College de France in 1978-1979. The term biopolitics is now widely used not only by philosophers and political scientists, but also by psychologists, sociologists, ecologists, journalists, marketers. It is often argued that with the help of the concept of biopolitics people can most adequately understand the changes and transformations that are part of contemporary politics, as well as explain how human life is controlled by bio-authority. The phenomenon of biopolitics is closely connected with the present situation of human. Philosophers and anthropologists more often are paying attention to the fact that biotechnology interferes in human nature, absolutely changing it. Critics of biopolitics convinced that it manipulates human nature, generating distorted forms of being of bios politicos. The influence of biopolitics on human nature is evidenced by modern studies of the human genome, the development of reanimatology, the desire to improve the human body with the help of surgical and cosmetic means etc. Modern mass media propagate the image of the human body, which carries utopian features of perfection. In addition, human identity is often associated with biometric data. Such studies and measures, of course, have not only biological effects, but also ethical and political ones.
Biopolitics is born with the emergence of certain technologies which aim is to improve the human nature. More often, biopolitics is understood as the result of the mutual influence of politics and biology. Generally, the philosophical literature contains the following definition of biopolitics as a set of mutual influences of politics and biology, when with the use of biological means political goals implement, as well as, through political means are biological goals implemented. In modern philosophy and political science, scholars most often refer to the understanding of the biopolitics, which can be found in the works of Foucault. According to him, biopolitics is a combination of political means of influencing the biological origin of man and controlling him in order to realize certain political and social interests. With the term biopolitics, Foucault tries to show how power is transformed in order to be able to effectively control the masses of the population. Politics is transformed into the biopolitics, when it begins to control health, birth rate, hygiene, sexuality etc. Biopolitics is a political reflection that introduces the phenomena as the main objects of reflection, which are related not to the social, political and economic conditions of human existence, but to the biological nature of man. It happening with the help of the phenomena that affect the conditions of human existence due to the biological nature
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Biopolitics as Controlling Tool
According to Lazzarato, biopolitics is only a strategic relationship and cannot, in a direct and easy way, legalize and legitimize sovereignty. In his work Biopolitics / Bioeconomy, an Italian sociologist, with the help of interpreting Foucault's ideas, pays attention to the essential aspects of the relationship between liberalism and biopolitics. In fact, Lazzarato convinces that politics and economics within the limits of liberalism are associated with mechanisms that are neither politic nor economic. Even the functioning of politics and the economy takes place through mechanisms based on the rationality that is beyond them. In the works of Foucault, this rationality is associated with the management of society, which is human technology. Thus, according to Lazzarato, one should say that within the framework of liberalism there are such phenomena as biopolitics and bioeconomics. Liberalism takes from Christianity the idea of pastoral control of human souls, modifying it and transforming it into the principles of managing people.
The state power operating on the body, for it to be repressive and disciplinary, it seeks for biopolitical techniques to regulate life. The right over death is different from the right of death that depends on the sovereign power. Biopolitics can be applied for manipulation, and since Foucault highlighted that power is a controlling tool, this can occur at the individual or the population level. Power is exerted over the society where the sovereign power has historically determined life and death. In fact, biopolitics transformed the order of politics where biopower fosters life or disallows to the point of death. The sovereign power is strong, as there is a determination of those who die and those are spared, and death represents the limit to which it influences life. With the help of The Night Of the role of biopolitics can be demonstrated. The agents of the state control individuals and populations by determining who has the power over life. As a result of the exercised power, people are put to death to demonstrate who has the ultimate control. The community is shown as one big organism where everybody plays his or her role. It is not important whether the member of community wants to live in such way or not. The authority is interested only in the wellbeing of the whole organism, but not in happiness of individual members of it. Biopolitics is already something more than the disciplined mechanism described by Foucault, it deals with regulating the population as a whole. There are certain rules, and it is not important whether the person is at home or in prison, everybody should follow them in order not to be punished through the criminal justice system. Both Naz, the main character, that was suspected in murder, and criminal law officers wanted to control the process, but in different ways, as everyone did his or her best and tried to solve the riddle.
The Night of and Biopolitics
Foucault's bio-authority concept demonstrates the process of expanding the boundaries of politics together with the birth of biopolitics. From that point, the political tends to became a part of all spheres of life, and the space to exercise power is bios. The concept of bios is one of the central issues in current biopolitical discussions. It comes from the philosophy of Aristotle, when he defined the political life, bios politics. According to the ancient philosophers, political life is a way of life of a person, which is by its nature, a political being. Modern biopolitics is often blamed for distorting the true meaning of human being as a political being. Thus, biopolitics tries to overcome the boundaries political, which were laid down by the Aristotelian concept of the political, which also included a close connection between ethics and politics. Foucault argued that the government uses its power over human beings, and therefore the state policy became a biopolitical necessity. The philosopher claimed that the population is always manifested only in the fact that the government cares for its own wellbeing, and therefore, if necessary, it is obvious that the government can destroy it. As it was illustrated in The Night of, even if there were other suspects pursued in some episodes, one can make a conclusion that if Naz was behind bars, this would protect the society. The wellbeing of one individual is not important for the whole country.
Biopolitical Paradigm and its Influence
In general, it can be argued that the biopolitical paradigm, which forms a specific understanding of the phenomenon of politics and its modern forms, shows the consequences of the politics transformation that began from the time of Machiavelli 's time when a gap between ethics and politics took place, development of politics was done with the help of providing this sphere with the political technologies. In the basis of a biopolitical paradigm, ideas about the political community, as well as about polis change. In the sphere of politics, the nature of man is not realized, as Aristotle insisted, in fact particular mechanisms work in order to start to exploit and distort it. As a consequence, it is not surprising that the analyzes of the modern biopolitical paradigm, which are found in the writings of philosophers, are aimed at changing society and finding ways to overcome the negative effects of the impact of biopolitics on human life. Giorgio Agamben, for example, represents a certain version of messianism, referring to figure of St. Paul, Judaism, the experience of Eastern religions, in this way he tries to lay the messianic paradigm that will ensure the creation of a new society. In the same time, Roberto Esposito seeks to find a model of society that would be exempted from the paradigm of immunization, etc. In any case, biopolitical analysis allows scholars to show how much it affects modern politics, society and people, which will help to avoid the negative effects of expanding and transforming the political boundaries within this paradigm.
The understanding of the political limits is essential for the study of the biopolitics as paradigm of comprehension of the political phenomenon in contemporary philosophy. Political philosophy is an important part of it as it helps to understand the elements that form the term of biopolitics. In fact, this issue is obviously ontological one, as one of its aspects is the political world and the way of human being in it. The idea of biopolitics is described in the works of Michel Foucault. He gave his own definition of biopolits as a combination of political means that influence on the biological origin of humans and take control on them because these political means find it very necessary to realize certain political and social interests. Nowadays, biopolitics is very essential term, and the use of it can be found in the functioning of government. It tries to control the people`s lives and if something goes wrong, appears the necessity to destroy the element, that is not in a proper state. The wellbeing of the whole country is over the needs and wellbeing of the single person, and if this person is somehow dangerous, the country will sacrifice him or her.
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