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By Btihaj Ajana (auth.)

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Extra resources for Governing through Biometrics: The Biopolitics of Identity

Example text

And for the first time in history, according to Foucault, ‘biological existence was reflected in political existence [ . . : 142–3). In Society Must be Defended, Foucault (2003 [1976]) extends his analysis of biopolitics to include specific domains wherein biopower seems to be at play. The sites, he cites, range from the field of medical care, demographic analysis, natalist policy, urban planning to some more subtle mechanisms such as insurance, individual and collective saving, safety measures and the like.

He is ‘a philosopher at work’ (Bos, 2005: 16) whose political engagement places a demand on philosophy to rethink the ‘political’ itself by taking sides with the refugee, the immigrant, the detainee, the subaltern, the repressed and so on. For he believes that these are the singularities that expose the dark (and all the more constitutive) side of biopolitics and issue a challenge to thinking itself. : 38) at the very same moment he is claiming to be completing it. This ‘schema of betrayal’ (Nancy, 1991) is, in fact, nothing other than a ‘trade-off’ between history and politics.

They argue that this form of citizenship poses many challenges to traditional concepts of national citizenship insofar as it is not taking a ‘racialized and nationalised form’ nor is it just ‘imposed from above’ (state). : 3). Partaking of what Foucault calls ‘the technologies of the self’, biological citizenship is an individualising process in that it entails a sense of responsiblisation and subjectification (akin to the logic of ethopolitics). : 6). In a way, Rose’s analysis of contemporary biopolitics might be closer (than Agamben’s) to providing the sequel for the Foucauldian saga of biopolitics.

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