Biopolitics and Biopower: From Foucault to the Italian Theory and Beyond
By the mid-seventies of the twentieth century, Michel Foucault had introduced the terms “biopolitics” and “biopower” into the philosophical vocabulary; concepts that he used in his studies on the history of sexuality. The elaborations of the French thinker have been taken and developed, since the mid-nineties, by several Italian intellectuals, including Giorgio Agamben, Antonio Negri, and Roberto Esposito. Since that time, studies on biopolitics and biopower have been strongly associated with the tradition of Italian political philosophy, so much so that abroad they are often categorized under the label “Italian Theory”. In this article, I trace the history of the two ideas in an effort to better delineate their meaning and implications.
Riccardo CampaJagiellonian University in Krakow