What is Biopower and Biopolitics? 2
Before reading the articles assigned for this class, I had little to no knowledge about biopolitics and biopower. Biopolitics is a complicated concept that has been used and developed in social theory since first coined by Michel Foucault, to examine the strategies and mechanisms through which human life processes are managed under regimes of authority over knowledge, power and the processes of subjectivities.
Could the acts of genocides be considered an act of biopolitics? How does settler colonialism come to correlate with it?
In many ways, “Biopower” can be understood as a social field of power and struggle, in which the vital aspects of human life are intervened upon for the purpose of rationalizing regimes of authority over knowledge, and the modes through which individuals construct between a sense of self and the collective. Many may argue that the direct use of biopolitics does not fully exist in our world today, however I can argue that it still does and in my opinion has gotten worse but direct impact is hidden from our eyes. Heteronormativity and white supremacy are the negative part of biopower however there can be some positive aspects for specific groups. A very good example for modern day representation can be of China which should be noted was not settler colony, and their attempt to control population growth with passing laws limiting child births.
Another example of the present day existence of biopolitics was mentioned in article The Biopolitics of Settler Colonialism: Right Here, Right Now by Scott Lauria Morgensen, where he talks about the Canadian historic influence of biopolitics. For many of us, Canada is thought to be a safe and neutral country however the past atrocities have gone ignored. Why is that the case? The treaties in Canada for the First Nations have been violated over and over again but there is no attention paid to it. Why has Canada gone under the radar for so long? Biopower can be best explained by the technologies and techniques which govern human social and biological processes. An interesting example of biopower can be the neoliberalism of the U.S., in which the logic of a free market economy has been extended over non-economic domains of human social and biological existence, so that we now conceive of a number of life processes, such as family and reproduction, in economic terms.
Can we break away from this and is there a future where we are not doomed? As human being, we tend to disregard anything that does not directly affect us. For example, the lives of Aborigines and Palestinians do not really matter to a lot of us. In our eyes, both sects of people are just a sad product of collateral damage. How does one decide what is to be considered important and what is not? More importantly, we begin to realize how the biopolitics of race is still very prevalent in our world today, regardless of what we may believe.