« Yes we can | Main | New issue of Theory and Event (13.1) »

March 28, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jocelyn Atkins

jodi, how did you dwnld file? cannot open from a mac. wondering if anyone else had this problem.


it's a word document--but they should be compatible, right?

Jocelyn Atkins

yeah, for some reason can't access it. ok, thanks, will keep trying.

renaissance costume

I can't open it too.. :(

Jocelyn Atkins

hey rc, you prob have to download more software from microsoft. that is what i had to do and i got it to "convert".

jodi--This paper was a real pleasure to read. I only wonder what you think about the following. I realize you do make a distinction btn Biopolitics and Drive but as I was reading Homo Sacer recently, I kept feeling like I was reading an account of drive.

What i mean is, isn't Agamben's Homo Sacer an image of drive, the exemplar, in all it excess, bare life, is more alive than all life living or dead? it is what persists despite everything else. If what Agamben says about Biopolitics always having been, is true, ("Western politics is a biopolitics from the very beginning..." Agamben, HS, 181)--then couldn't biopolitics be a mirror image of drive? or if not then why.

If biopolitics is a result of the constitutive gap (the negative subject of Hegel, the subject of lack in Lacan-->desire/drive) this seems to me it makes it strictly, a question of ontology, of the foundation. so i am curious about your distinction of biopolitics as ontology and biopolitics as your designation as "too little" (attending to life processes) and which one you identify as the prevailing biopolitics useful for analyzing this relationship of drive to biopolitics, or if you prefer/privilege one over the other.

so i guess i am inclined to make the argument that biopolitics is drive (at work) and I take it you would take issue with this? I understand you make the distinction btn biopolitics reigning over organic life (albeit for good reason, using biopolitics to analyze neoliberalism is really not entirely appropriate) but isn't the dead life of capital also part of life? in other words, as i see it, drive enables/makes possible biopolitics, and this is because i see it as a problem of the ontological- negative constitution of the subject (of lack).

thanks again, i appreciate your comments.


thanks for your comment; sorry for the delayed response. Your read of Homo Sacer is really interesting. I hadn't really thought of bare life as an image/figure for drive because it seems so much a remnant/remainder. In Agamben's account it's almost inert. But maybe I'm looking at bare life too much in terms of the Musselmann or overcomatose patient rather than as the wolfman. Also, if drive is the repercussion of a blocked/failed/captured demand, then this starts to make sense in terms of sovereignty.

Biopolitics as mirror image--I'm a bit less keen on this metaphor (probably because of lacanian mirror stage but also because of limits of idea of reflection). What about drive as structure of biopolitics? My hesitation, though, could be because I prefer Foucault's more historical version of biopolitics--I don't agree that sovereignty has essence that is the same throughout all of history. So, this is where we likely diverge in our approaches--you are interested in thinking through this qua ontology. So, I think that it has a history and that the history can be read via drive/reflexivity. So too little and too much are not just right!

So I'd say that drive structures biopolitics; I'm not sure if this is the same as your 'make possible'. I take the subject of lack to be a product of language but am not willing to make an ontological statement here because I take ontology to refer to the Real and nothing is lacking in the Real.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo