Biopolitical Experience: Foucault, Power and Positive by C. Blencowe

By C. Blencowe

An unique, entire interpretation of Michel Foucault's research of biopolitics – situating biopolitics within the context of embodied histories of subjectivity, affective investments and buildings of expertise. Going past lamentation on the horrors of biopolitical domination, the e-book develops a positive-critique of biopolitical adventure.

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Extra resources for Biopolitical Experience: Foucault, Power and Positive Critique

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Benjamin is associated with the critique and history of experience in modernity, with art, with technology and with the transformations in perception – including political and aesthetic sensibilities – that are the outcome of the technological and architectural construction of the modern, capitalist, world. As I have argued elsewhere, Benjamin’s interest in these changing perceptions and sensibilities was animated by a concern to develop a historicising account of the vitalist values, and associated search for ‘lost experience’ (in duration), with which he was contemporary – a vitalism represented in the then ‘towering figure’ of Henri Bergson (Benjamin, 1999b; Blencowe, 2008).

Indd 22 12/1/2011 12:41:14 PM Introduction 23 by given socio-technological conditions. Modern creativity and vitalism are not the gift of God or the universe but of the capitalist mode of production. Crucially, Benjamin’s fully immanent conception of duration and creative force or life underpins a set of political aspirations that are considerably more realistic and more faithful to the value of ‘difference in itself’ than is Bergson. Bergson’s theorisations of the actualisation of creativity in human experience buy into the navel-gazing notions of romantic individualism.

They both associate experience with the allure and epistemic and ethical authority of extending beyond the subject that one is – escaping the condition of finite singularity, becoming differentiated, reaching limits of possibility, participating in process and transfiguration. indd 26 12/1/2011 12:41:15 PM Introduction 27 not a reassuring embedding of the subject in the world, but passing beyond the limits of and even destroying the subject that one is. For Benjamin experience is either the (now-destroyed) situation in which subjectivity moves outside of the present, into the domain of eternity, or it is the situation of permanent transformation in which people are perpetually differentiated from themselves in the radically open sociality of the ‘loose mass’ (Benjamin, 2002).

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