Biopolitics, Life and the Social | Department of Sociology

Biopolitics, Life and the Social

Bio-politics is an influential theoretical framing as well as an empirical perspective that builds from a base where the “knowledge” of “human species-life” becomes a core from which to understand how strategies of power, government, politics and the economy influence the conduct of social life. Associated with Foucault, Agamben, Esposito and many other interlocutors, bio-politics is classically approached as assemblies of multiple, heterogeneous forces of power and its effects, especially when they underline the conditions of life which are subject to modern government and which, in turn, offer spaces of political potential. Bio-politics then considers the relationship between the political with life, and the potential of that relationship in understanding the social.

The biopolitical approach has been applied and interpreted in widely diverse contexts, and has been found crucial in informing issues such as contemporary local or global governance, health and medical practices, social inclusion and exclusion, war and violence, citizenship and sovereignty, gendered living, surveillance and control, digital technologies of life management, economic or legal practices and much more. Developing a rare non-western perspective, from an Indian location, promises far-reaching social theoretical insights.