Technology and Biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben
Publication Year: 2011
Has biopolitics actually become thanatopolitics, a field of study obsessed with death? Is there something about the nature of biopolitical thought today that makes it impossible to deploy affirmatively? If this is true, what can life-minded thinkers put forward as the merits of biopolitical reflection? These questions drive Improper Life, Timothy C. Campbell’s dexterous inquiry-as-intervention.
Campbell argues that a “crypto-thanatopolitics” can be teased out of Heidegger’s critique of technology and that some of the leading scholars of biopolitics—including Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Peter Sloterdijk—have been substantively influenced by Heidegger’s thought, particularly his reading of proper and improper writing. In fact, Campbell shows how all of these philosophers have pointed toward a tragic, thanatopolitical destination as somehow an inevitable result of technology. But in Improper Life he articulates a corrective biopolitics that can begin with rereadings of Foucault (especially his late work regarding the care and technologies of the self), Freud (notably his writings on the drives and negation), and Gilles Deleuze (particularly in the relation of attention to aesthetics).
Throughout Improper Life, Campbell insists that biopolitics can become more positive and productively asserts an affirmative technē not thought through thanatos but rather practiced through bíos.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright
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Preface: Bios between Thanatos and Technē
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At a recent conference on politics and life, one of the foremost American scholars of Foucault observed that the inflation surround-ing the term biopolitics had reached truly pernicious proportions. There was something so totalizing about the term, he argued, something so unwieldy, that made it unfit as a paradigm for understanding the kinds ...
1 Divisions of the Proper: Heidegger, Technology, and the Biopolitical
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...degger in a context of the thanatopolitical is perhaps surprising. Yes, it’s certainly true that Heidegger’s thought continues to generate enormous attention—one need only consider the titles that appear every year dedicated to him1—but my impression is that few have attempted to set out the profound connections that join his thought to ...
2 The Dispositifs of Thanatopolitics: Improper Writing and Life
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In the preceding chapter, I took up the question of the relation between thanatopolitics and technology in the thought of Martin Hei-degger by focusing on the distinction between proper and improper writing. In this chapter, I want to turn to two of the most important Italian philosophers writing today in an ostensibly thanatopoliti-...
3 Barely Breathing: Sloterdijk's Immunitary Biopolitics
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This chapter grows out of an abiding appreciation of that philos-opher who, along with Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito, has attempted to think through the aporiae of the biopolitical. In those important pages in which the thanatopolitical springs forth, Ger-man philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explicitly deploys a Heideggerian ...
4 Practicing Bíos: Attention and Play as Technē
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...porary forms of technologized existence? With increased technolo-gization and its contamination with apparatuses, is bíos now pursu-ing a “decisive tack” in which “any residual hint of the anthropological is abandoned in the fact that techn-ology becomes properly speaking a thanato-logy?”1 And with greater thanatology, must our responses be ...
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Other Works in the Series, About the Author
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...timothy c. campbell is professor of Italian studies in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University. He is the author of Wireless Writing in the Age of Marconi (Minnesota, 2006) and the translator of Roberto Esposito’s Bíos: Biopolitics and Philosophy (Minnesota, 2008)....
Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Posthumanities