This special collection of Anthropological Quarterly aims to spark new ways of thinking about formations and operations of modern power. Specifically, the articles explore how energic forces and infrastructures interrelate with institutions and ideations of political power. In the hope of fanning sparks into flames, we juxtapose this process of exploration with the influential paradigm of “biopower” developed by Michel Foucault. All of the essays explore how modalities of “biopower” (the management of life and population) today depend in crucial respects upon modalities of energopower (the harnessing of electricity and fuel) and vice-versa. We emphasize especially the critical importance of exploring the juncture of biopower and energopower in the context of the rising importance of scientific and political discourse on anthropogenic climate change. As human use of energy is increasingly linked to the disruption and destruction of conditions of life (human and otherwise), the tensions between dominant energopolitical systems (like carbon fuel) and biopolitical projects (like sustainability) are increasingly evident, opening new possibilities of anthropological analysis. Both energopower and biopower, we conclude, are entering into a pivotal transitional phase.


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pp. 309-333
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