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

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
*
The symposium is funded by the Academy of Finland
*

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/