International Workshop: Biopolitics and Democracy in Global Governance


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.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *