The biopolitical paradox: population and security mechanisms

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)
No.3, 2013
The biopolitical paradox: population and security mechanisms
Emiliano Sacchi
This article proposes a way of problematising the concept of biopolitics based on Foucauldian and post-Foucauldian reflection. In order to steer the question towards the meaning of biopolitics, we take as our starting point the relationship between philosophy and the present, as understood by Michel Foucault. From there, a series of questions are posed around the paradoxical economics of relationships between Bios and Thanatos and their various readings by Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Roberto Esposito. On this subject, the links between biopolitics and racist and immunity apparatuses are explored. It is posited that although both apparatuses are fundamental to the modern biopolitical diagram, the Foucauldian concept of biopolitics cannot be reduced to them alone. Consequently, a hypothesis is proposed that biopolitics and the very notion of life cannot be understood without taking into account the emergence of the concept of “population” and the multiple “security” mechanisms. Only through those security mechanisms is it possible to perceive the paradoxical structure of biopolitics.