Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics – Chapter Eight

Written by Terry Flew on October 7, 2009

• Why this topic? The methodological reason is to give ‘concrete content to relations of power’ by understanding how the ‘grid of governmentality’ operates at the level of economic policy or social management. He also wants to get beyond the moralizing of critiques of the state because:1. It defines the state as the opposite of civil society;2. It wrongly conflates different kinds of states, particularly liberal-administrative states and fascist-totalitarian states;3.

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Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics – Chapter Seven

Written by Terry Flew on October 6, 2009

• Social policy of neo-liberalism (Gesellschaftpolitik) is ‘active, intense, and interventionist’, but is not a compensatory policy for impacts of the market economy on the social fabric. It is rather ’a historical and social condition of possibility for a market economy, as the condition enabling the formal mechanism of competition to function’ (p. 160)

• The two key elements are:1. Formalisation of society on the model of the enterprise;2.

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Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics – Chapter Six

Written by Terry Flew on September 26, 2009

I have provided a summary of notes on the sixth lecture given by Michel Foucault at the College de France 1978-79, published under the title The Birth of Biopolitics. The lecture was originally given on 14 February, 1979.

• Foucault wants to emphasise the singularity of neo-liberalism, and not to say that it is a return to old economic theories (Adam Smith), it is another term for market society (Marxism) or that it is the generalization of a

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