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Bíos

Biopolitics and Philosophy

2008
Author:

Roberto Esposito
Translated by Timothy C. Campbell
Introduction by Timothy C. Campbell

Bíos

A significant political theorist advances the discussion of biopolitics

Bíos—significant political theorist Roberto Esposito’s first book to be translated into English—builds on two decades of highly regarded thought, including his thesis that the modern individual is an attempt to attain immunity from the contagion of the extraindividual, namely, the community. In Bíos, Esposito applies such a paradigm of immunization to the analysis of the radical transformation of the political into biopolitics.

With Bíos, we move well beyond the animal metaphor of Hobbesian origin, of the man who is a wolf to other men. Esposito leads us from there to ...

Antonio Negri

Roberto Esposito is one of the most prolific and important exponents of contemporary Italian political theory. Bíos—his first book to be translated into English—builds on two decades of highly regarded thought, including his thesis that the modern individual—with all of its civil and political rights as well as its moral powers—is an attempt to attain immunity from the contagion of the extraindividual, namely, the community.

In Bíos, Esposito applies such a paradigm of immunization to the analysis of the radical transformation of the political into biopolitics. Bíos discusses the origins and meanings of biopolitical discourse, demonstrates why none of the categories of modern political thought is useful for completely grasping the essence of biopolitics, and reconstructs the negative biopolitical core of Nazism. Esposito suggests that the best contemporary response to the current deadly version of biopolitics is to understand what could make up the elements of a positive biopolitics—a politics of life rather than a politics of mastery and negation of life.

In his introduction, Timothy Campbell situates Esposito’s arguments within American and European thinking on biopolitics. A comprehensive, illuminating, and highly original treatment of a critically important topic, Bíos introduces an English-reading public to a philosophy that will critically impact such wide-ranging current debates as stem cell research, euthanasia, and the war on terrorism.

Bíos

Roberto Esposito teaches contemporary philosophy at the Italian Institute for the Human Sciences in Naples. His books include Categorie dell impolitico, Nove pensieri sulla politica, Communitas: orgine e destino della comunità, and Immunitas: protezione e negazione della vita.

Timothy Campbell is associate professor of Italian studies in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University and the author of Wireless Writing in the Age of Marconi (Minnesota, 2006).

Bíos

With Bíos, we move well beyond the animal metaphor of Hobbesian origin, of the man who is a wolf to other men. Esposito leads us from there to ...

Antonio Negri

Roberto Esposito is an important voice from Italy with an original contribution to contemporary debates about biopolitics. Timothy Campbell’s excellent introduction situates Esposito within the Italian context and highlights the alliances and challenges of his thought with respect to other figures on today’s theoretical scene.

Michael Hardt

Bíos is an important book for contemporary political philosophy because it invites the reader to engage with the critical discussions of what life is and is to be. This invitation is coupled with a style that is very readable. Esposito’s Bíos is a book that should entice readers from many different fields, including legal, social, and political thought.

Metapsychology

This is a valuable book for those interested in human-animal studies. This is not a work of prescription or direct intervention, but rather one that challenges us to rethink entirely our models of sovereignty, community, property and subjectivity.

Humanimalia

The beauty of Bíos is that, what it takes of Foucault’s thought, it takes seriously in order to extend it philosophically.

History of the Human Sciences

Bíos

Contents

TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION Bíos, Immunity, Life: The Thought ofRoberto Esposito Timothy Campbell Bíos

Introduction

ONE The Enigma of Biopolitics
TWO The Paradigm of Immunization
THREE Biopower and Biopotentiality
FOUR Thanatopolitics (The Cycle of Genos)
FIVE The Philosophy of Bíos

Notes

Index