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Biopolitics, Sovereignty and Political Conflict


This project is a philosophical attempt to address the question of political conflict. At this time what seems to matter most in the escalation of conflicts around issues like gender, minorities and the COVID-19 pandemic is the biological life of individuals and populations. This is problematic for the reason that politics is structurally ambivalent about natural life: it is productive and affirmative, on the one hand, and, on the other, it is lethal and negative. There is a wide agreement that this ambivalent relation of politics to life stems from how biopolitical power intersects with sovereign power, the power over life with the sovereign right of death. While studies in biopolitics often take this enigmatic nexus as the point of reference for further considerations and subsequently emphasise the imminence of the problems with violence and pacification, this project aims to go further than that by drawing upon Jean-Luc Nancy’s idea of technology as the condition of biopolitics to deconstruct and recast affirmatively the knot of biopolitical power and sovereign power. This re-articulation I argue provides a novel angle from which to review the conceptions of resistance and to consider the grounds of political conflict. To show the affirmative value of political conflicts, I apply my developed concepts to examine populist polarization and neoliberal pacification that beset biopolitical liberal democracies today. The 24 months or outgoing phase of this project will be carried out at Deakin University under the supervision of Prof. Vanessa Lemm. I will return to the University of Jyvaskyla for 12 months under the supervision of Prof. Mika Ojakangas.


Net EU contribution
€ 276 864,48
Seminaarinkatu 15
40100 Jyvaskyla

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Manner-Suomi Länsi-Suomi Keski-Suomi
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
No data