Annual Symposium – Biopolitics and Democracy in Global Governance

BIOPOLITICS AND DEMOCRACY IN GLOBAL GOVERNANCE

Annual Symposium

20 September 2017

Unioninkatu 37, Seminar Room 1

The Academy project ‘Biopolitics and Democracy in Global Governance’ addresses the relationship between the two logics at work in contemporary global governance, democracy and biopolitics. Since the end of the Cold War, democracy has become the fundamental principle of global governance. Governance policies at such diverse sites as health care, development and environmental protection are both legitimized and contested in terms of democratic principles of participation, equality and accountability. At the same time, contemporary studies of global governance increasingly highlight its biopolitical character, oriented towards the positive management of the vital processes of the population. These two logics clearly follow different rationalities, the universalist and egalitarian aspirations of democracy contrasting with particularistic and quasi-naturalist presuppositions of biopolitics. While the problematic character of their combination has been noted by political theorists, it has barely been addressed in empirical studies. The project aims at filling this gap by inquiring into the relation between democracy and biopolitics as rationalities of governance. The symposium addresses this question both on the historico-philosophical level in the genealogy of the two rationalities in the Western politico-philosophical tradition and on the empirical level through the analysis of the interplay between democracy and biopolitics at specific sites of governance.

The symposium will feature a keynote presentation from one of the international partners of the project, Dr Catherine Mills (Monash University). Dr Mills is an Associate Professor in the Monash Bioethics Centre and current recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. She is the author of three books, most recently Biopolitics (Routledge, 2017).

The symposium is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Programme

15:00-16:00: Catherine Mills (Monash University): Presentation of Biopolitics (Routledge, 2017)

16:00-16:20: Sergei Prozorov (University of Helsinki): The Possibility of Democratic Biopolitics

16:20-16:40: Lauri Siisiainen (University of Helsinki): Foucault, Biopolitics and Resistance

16:40-17:00: Marco Piasentier (University of Kent): Biopolitics between Language and Life

17:00-17:20: Jaakko Ailio (University of Tampere): Affirmative Biopolitics in Practice

17:20-17:40: Cai Weaver (University of Helsinki): The Biopolitics of Anti-Gay Legislation in Russia

17:40-18:00: Concluding discussion

International Workshop: Biopolitics and Democracy in Global Governance

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International Workshop

9 December 2016
Athena, sali 166 (Siltavuorenpenger 3 A)

The Academy project ‘Biopolitics and Democracy in Global Governance’ addresses the relationship between the two logics at work in contemporary global governance, democracy and biopolitics. Since the end of the Cold War, democracy has become the fundamental principle of global governance. Governance policies at such diverse sites as health care, development and environmental protection are both legitimized and contested in terms of democratic principles of participation, equality and accountability. At the same time, contemporary studies of global governance increasingly highlight its biopolitical character, oriented towards the positive management of the vital processes of the population. These two logics clearly follow different rationalities, the universalist and egalitarian aspirations of democracy contrasting with particularistic and quasi-naturalist presuppositions of biopolitics. While the problematic character of their combination has been noted by political theorists, it has barely been addressed in empirical studies. The project aims at filling this gap by inquiring into the relation between democracy and biopolitics as rationalities of governance. The workshop addresses this question both on the historico-philosophical level in the genealogy of the two rationalities in the Western politico-philosophical tradition and on the empirical level through the analysis of the interplay between democracy and biopolitics at specific sites of governance.

The workshop will also serve as the launch event for a series of newly published books: two monographs published by the members of the project team: Sergei Prozorov’s Biopolitics of Stalinism (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and Jemima Repo’s Biopolitics of Gender (Oxford University Press, 2015) and the Routledge Handbook of Biopolitics, co-edited by Prozorov and Dr Simona Rentea (Saint Louis University, Madrid), who is the invited international speaker at the event.

The workshop is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Programme

10.00-13.00: Panel 1 ‘The History of Biopolitics and the Question of Democracy’

Marco Piasentier (University of Helsinki): Biopolitics and the Linguistic Turn. An Historical Perspective

Sergei Prozorov (University of Helsinki): Jean-Luc Nancy’s Democracy of Incommensurable Lives

Lauri Siisiäinen (University of Jyväskylä): Foucault, Biopolitics and Resistance

13.00-14.00 – Lunch break

14.00-17.00: Panel 2 ‘Biopolitics and Democracy in Contemporary Governance’

Simona Rentea (Saint Louis University, Madrid): Genres of Austerity: Constituent Imagination and the Biopolitics of Anxiety in Austerity-governed Europe

Jaakko Ailio (University of Tampere): Theory of Biopolitics and the Global Response to HIV/AIDS

Jemima Repo (University of Newcastle/University of Helsinki):  Foucault, Sexuality and Gary Becker’s Neoliberal Biopolitics

17.15-18.00: Open discussion

Feminist Approaches to Biopolitics, ECPG 2017

Call for abstracts for the 5th ECPG Conference, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 8-10 June 2017.

Panel: Feminist Approaches to Biopolitics
Chairs: Jemima Repo (Newcastle University) and Cai Weaver (University of Helsinki)

Research based on Michel Foucault’s notion of biopolitics has burgeoned in recent years, not only since the publication of the Collège de France lectures, but also due to developments in Italian political philosophy. Yet, feminist and queer contributions to this literature often feature less prominently in this new wave of scholarship. This panel welcomes all papers, both theoretical and empirical, that explore any aspect of the relationship between sex, sexuality, and gender, and biopolitics. Papers can focus on for instance particular theoretical or methodological questions that develop, challenge or complicate existing frameworks or analyses of biopolitics. They can also challenge the Western-centric biopolitical tradition by exploring the biopolitics of sex/gender/sexuality in different geographical, historical, and cultural contexts. We invite papers that empirically explore the biopolitics of social, economic, cultural, political and legal questions surrounding, but not limited to, reproduction, labour, migration, care, LGBT issues, austerity, conflict, development, social justice, race, class or disability from a feminist, queer and/or intersectional perspective.

Abstracts of 300 words, including title, should be emailed to Cai Weaver (cai.weaver[at]helsinki.fi) by 8th November 2016. Please include full contact details for all authors (name, institutional affiliation, email address) and 3-8 key words with each submission.

The final submission of abstracts will be made by the panel chairs to the ECPG. For more information about the conference, visit the website: http://www.ecpg.eu

Out Now: The Routledge Handbook of Biopolitics

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About the Book:
The problematic of biopolitics has become increasingly important in the social sciences. Inaugurated by Michel Foucault’s genealogical research on the governance of sexuality, crime and mental illness in modern Europe, the research on biopolitics has developed into a broader interdisciplinary orientation, addressing the rationalities of power over living beings in diverse spatial and temporal contexts.

The development of the research on biopolitics in recent years has been characterized by two tendencies: the increasingly sophisticated theoretical engagement with the idea of power over and the government of life that both elaborated and challenged the Foucauldian canon (e.g. the work of Giorgio Agamben, Antonio Negri, Roberto Esposito and Paolo Virno) and the detailed and empirically rich investigation of the concrete aspects of the government of life in contemporary societies. Unfortunately, the two tendencies have often developed in isolation from each other, resulting in the presence of at least two debates on biopolitics: the historico-philosophical and the empirical one. This Handbook brings these two debates together, combining theoretical sophistication and empirical rigour.

The volume is divided into five sections. While the first two deal with the history of the concept and contemporary theoretical debates on it, the remaining three comprise the prime sites of contemporary interdisciplinary research on biopolitics: economy, security and technology. Featuring previously unpublished articles by the leading scholars in the field, this wide-ranging and accessible companion will both serve as an introduction to the diverse research on biopolitics for undergraduate students and appeal to more advanced audiences interested in the current state of the art in biopolitics studies.

For more information, visit the Routledge Website

The Biopolitics of Stalinism

The first book to investigate Soviet socialism from a biopolitical perspective.

9781474410533Western theories of biopolitics focus on its liberal and fascist rationalities. In opposition to this, Stalinism was oriented more towards transforming life in accordance with the communist ideal, and less towards protecting it.

Sergei Prozorov reconstructs this rationality in the early Stalinist project of the Great Break (1928–32) and its subsequent modifications during High Stalinism. He then relocates the question of biopolitics down to the level of the subject, tracing the way the ‘new Soviet person’ was to be produced in governmental practices and the role that violence and terror would play in this construction.

Key Features

*   Extracts Soviet socialism as a distinct strain of political theory, distinguishing it from the grab-bag of totalitarianism or a Russian deviation from ‘proper’ socialism

*   Critically engages with the canonical theories of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito, and the new materialist theories of Michel Henry, Quentin Meillassoux and Catherine Malabou

*   Analyses the origins of the postcommunist rehabilitation of Stalinism under Putin

*   Develops a new concept of affirmative biopolitics, advancing current debates in political theory and philosophy

Review

‘A fascinating study. Prozorov is not only one of the most interesting scholars of 20th and 21st century Russia, but he’s able to engage with high theory in a readable and entertaining manner.’

Human Rights Centre, the University of Essex, Professor Bill Bowring

Visit the Publisher’s Website by clicking here – Coming out at the end of the month!

Call For Papers: Biopolitics

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ECPR’s General Conference 2016,
Charles University, Prague
7-10 September 2016
Deadline for Paper & Panel Proposals: 15 February 2016

Biopolitics Section S05:
The problematic of biopolitics has become increasingly important in the study of political science. Inspired by the pioneering research of Michel Foucault and the subsequent development of this problematic in a variety of theoretical schools, political scientists have started addressing the rationalities of power that go beyond traditional sovereign-territorial logics and rather take the vital processes of the population as their object.

One of the main puzzles of the studies of biopolitics has been the relation between the positive and productive orientation of biopower and the negative power of exclusion and annihilation, which Foucault associated with sovereign power. The conversion of biopolitics into ‘thanatopolitics’ that annihilates the very life it was intended to protect was already noted in Foucault’s History of Sexuality I, but its full implications have been elaborated in the more recent works of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito and other authors who emphasise the inextricable link between biopolitics and its apparent opposite. This paradox makes biopolitics the site where the fundamental questions of political theory pertaining e.g. to power, legitimacy and community, intersect with empirical inquiries into the governance of reproduction, health promotion, pandemics, torture, euthanasia and other issues.

This Section follows two Sections on biopolitics that were organised at the 8th EISA Conference in Warsaw in 2013 and the 9th EISA conference in Giardini Naxos in 2015. These Sections contributed to the formation of a pan-European multidisciplinary network of biopolitics researchers and many of the presented Papers were eventually published in the Ashgate Research Companion to Biopolitics (2016), co-edited by Sergei Prozorov and Simona Rentea. This Section seeks to further develop this network, this time focusing more on the domestic rather than the international context. The Section will bring together scholars with diverse disciplinary backgrounds in order to address the relationship between biopolitics and thanatopolitics both theoretically and empirically.

Call for Papers:
The Section will comprise five Panels, each with five Papers. Two Panels are reserved for theoretically oriented Papers, dealing with the relation between bio- and thanato-politics in Foucault’s political thought and post-Foucauldian theories of biopolitics. The remaining Panels address the same relation in three key contexts of biopolitical governance: political economy, particularly the forms of life promoted by neoliberal governmental rationalities; gender politics, particularly the deployment of gender as an instrument of governance, and, finally, the impact of innovations in technology on the transformation of the political subject. The Section Chairs are open to other Panel and individual Paper proposals.

Deadline for Paper & Panel Proposals: 15 February 2016

Section Chairs’ Bios:
Sergei Prozorov is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki. He is the author of seven monographs, the most recent being The Biopolitics of Stalinism: Ideology and Life in Soviet Socialism (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). He has also published numerous articles on political theory and global politics in Political Theory, Political Studies, Theory, Culture and Society, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Political Geography and other international journals.

Mika Ojakangas is Professor of Political Thought at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is the author of six books and over 80 articles. His latest book, The Voice of Conscience (Bloomsbury, 2013) is a genealogy of the Western ethical experience. His new book on biopolitics in classical Greece is forthcoming with Routledge in 2016.

Keywords
Critical theory, Gender, Governance, Political Economy, Political Theory, Political Violence, Biopolitics

For more information, visit the ECPR Website here.

RECLAIMING THE POWER OF LIFE: FROM CRITICAL TO AFFIRMATIVE BIOPOLITICS

International Symposium
Department of Political and Economic Studies
University of Helsinki
Lecture Hall 1
Unioninkatu 37
Friday, 23 October 2015
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The symposium is funded by the Academy of Finland
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Since Michel Foucault’s introduction of the concept of biopolitics in History of Sexuality I, this problematic has remained entangled with its evil twin, thanatopolitics or the politics of death. While biopower is positive and productive, insofar as it makes one live, i.e. augments, amplifies or secures the vital processes of the population, it is never too far from the negative and even lethal use of power. In fact, its sole difference from sovereign power consists in the move from the active infliction of death on the enemy or offender to the more passive abandonment of entire populations to death in order to secure the life of one’s own population, group or race. In later works of such authors as Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito this entanglement is intensified even further, as biopolitics ends up either practically indistinct from thanatopolitics or subject to relapsing into it at any moment. This entanglement raises the question of the possibility of an affirmative biopolitics, which can be defined in the simplest terms as a politics of life that is spared from this thanatopolitical conversion. This symposium brings together an international group of scholars with diverse disciplinary backgrounds to discuss the thanatopolitical conversion of biopolitics in a variety of spatial, temporal and ideological contexts, from Ancient Greece through Stalinist Russia to contemporary Africa, and chart possible pathways towards the reappropriation of biopolitics in an affirmative fashion.

Keynote speaker: Professor Davide Tarizzo (University of Salerno).
Professor Tarizzo has published extensively on biopolitics, psychoanalysis and political theory. His books include: Introduzione a Lacan (2003), Il pensiero libero. La filosofia francese dopo lo strutturalismo (2003), Giochi di potere. Sulla paranoia politica (2007) La vita, un’invenzione recente (2010; forthcoming in English translation as Life, a Recent Invention with Minnesota University Press). Professor Tarizzo has also edited the Italian translation of contemporary philosophers such as Hannah Arendt, Gilles Deleuze, Stanley Cavell, Jean-Luc Nancy, Alain Badiou and Ernesto Laclau.

Programme

Session 1: 9.15-10.45
Mika Ojakangas (University of Jyväskylä), ‘On the Greek Origins of Biopolitics’
Sergei Prozorov (University of Helsinki), ‘The Biopolitics of Stalinism: Exterminist and Affirmative Biopolitics’

Coffee Break

Session 2: 11.00-12.30
Cai Weaver (University of Helsinki), ‘The Russian History of Sexuality – Biopolitics and Governance’
Simona Rentea (St Louis University, Madrid), ‘Becoming Common: Anguish and Imagination in Contemporary Struggles against Austerity in Spain’

Lunch break

Session 3: 14.00-15.30
Keynote Lecture: Davide Tarizzo (University of Salerno), ‘True Fictions. Biopolitics, Critical Theory, and Clinical Materialism’​

Session 4: 15.45-17.15
Jaakko Ailio (University of Helsinki), ‘Biopolitics of the Global Governance of HIV/AIDS’
Marco Piesantier (Centre of Critical Thought, University of Kent), ‘Foucault and the Two Approaches to Biopolitics’

For any queries please contact Sergei Prozorov, University Lecturer in World Politics, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki: sergei.prozorov@helsinki.fi

9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations

9thPanEuropeanConference_2015

Are you heading to the EISA conference this week? Be sure to check out our panels on biopolitics:

FC04: Theoretical Perspectives on Biopolitics and Violence
Friday, 25/Sep/2015: 2:30pm – 4:15pm • Location: Vulcano, ATA Hotel
Chair: Jemima Repo

FD04: Biopolitics and Violence in the Global Economy
Friday, 25/Sep/2015: 4:45pm – 6:30pm • Location: Vulcano, ATA Hotel
Chair: Lauri Siisiäinen

SA04: Biopolitical Violence beyond the West
Saturday, 26/Sep/2015: 9:00am – 10:45am • Location: Vulcano, ATA Hotel
Chair: Sergei Prozorov

SB04: Biopolitics, Gender and Race
Saturday, 26/Sep/2015: 11:15am – 1:00pm • Location: Vulcano, ATA Hotel
Chair: Cai Weaver

SC04: The Biopolitics of Enmity, Victimhood and Resistance
Saturday, 26/Sep/2015: 2:30pm – 4:15pm • Location: Vulcano, ATA Hotel
Chair: Jaakko Ailio

For more information and a detailed programme, visit the conference website: http://www.paneuropeanconference.org/2015/