Michel Foucault: The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-1979 (2008–) [EN, PT, CZ]

16 November 2009, dusan

Michel Foucault’s lectures at the Collège de France in 1979, The Birth of Biopolitics, pursue and develop further the themes of his lectures from the previous year, Security, Territory, Population. Having shown how Eighteenth century political economy marks the birth of a new governmental rationality – seeking maximum effectiveness by governing less and in accordance with the naturalness of the phenomena to be governed – Michel Foucault undertakes the detailed analysis of the forms of this liberal governmentality. This involves describing the political rationality within which the specific problems of life and population were posed: “Studying liberalism as the general framework of biopolitics”.

What are the specific features of the liberal art of government as they were outlined in the Eighteenth century? What crisis of governmentality characterises the present world and what revisions of liberal government has it given rise to? This is the diagnostic task addressed by Foucault’s study of the two major twentieth century schools of neo-liberalism: German ordo-liberalism and the neo-liberalism of the Chicago School. In the years he taught at the Collège de France, this was Michel Foucault’s sole foray into the field of contemporary history. This course thus raises questions of political philosophy and social policy that are at the heart of current debates about the role and status of neo-liberalism in twentieth century politics. A remarkable feature of these lectures is their discussion of contemporary economic theory and practice, culminating in an analysis of the model of homo oeconomicus.

Foucault’s analysis also highlights the paradoxical role played by “society” in relation to government. “Society” is both that in the name of which government strives to limit itself, but it is also the target for permanent governmental intervention to produce, multiply, and guarantee the freedoms required by economic liberalism. Far from being opposed to the State, civil society is thus shown to be the correlate of a liberal technology of government.

Edited by Michel Senellart
General Editors: François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana
Translated by Graham Burchell
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan, 2008
ISBN 140398655X, 9781403986559
346 pages

publisher (EN)
google books (EN)

The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-1979 (English, trans. Graham Burchell, 2008, updated on 2013-9-26)
Nascimento da Biopolítica: Curso dado no Collège de France (1978-1979) (Portuguese, trans. Eduardo Brandão and Claudia Berliner, 2008, added on 2013-9-26)
Zrození biopolitiky: Kurz na Collège de France (1978-1979) (Czech, trans. Petr Horák, 2009, no OCR, added on 2013-9-26)

One Response to “Michel Foucault: The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-1979 (2008–) [EN, PT, CZ]”

  1. Michel Foucault: The Birth of Biopolitics. Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-1979 (2008) at Monoskop/log « Steorfan on November 16, 2009 4:31 pm

    […] de France, 1978-1979 (2008) at Monoskop/log In Non classé on 16 novembre 2009 at 17:28 via […]

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