Animals in biopolitical theory: between Agamben and Negri

Summer 2012

Michel Foucault’s notion of ‘biopolitics’ has attained a renewed prominence in recent years through its reworking by, among others, Antonio Negri and Giorgio Agamben, who have each incorporated it into their different diagnoses of our contemporary political situation. But for all their attention to biology and life, and indeed the politicisation of such, they give little consideration to the subjection of animals within the regimes of biopower they critique. This essay will examine the biopolitical theories of these key Italian philosophers, asking whether and how they might be elaborated in eco- and zoo-political terms, such that we might critique the animalising reduction and biological production of human and nonhuman life together.

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NF 76 The Animals Turn