The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979
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The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979 (Lectures at the Collège de France)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  385 ratings  ·  15 reviews
this liberal governmentality. This involves describing the political rationality within which the specific problems of life and population were posed: "Studying liberalism as the general framework of biopolitics".

What are the specific features of the liberal art of government as they were outlined in the Eighteenth century? What crisis of governmentality characterises the...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published 2004)
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Docked one star because my 25th birthday will now forever be associated with neoliberalism and the logic of the market economy. Damn youuuu Foucauuuuuult! *shakes fist*
Since biopolitics comes out of the liberal need for limitation of government, the plan was to discuss liberalism in its classical and contemporary forms and then come to the discussion of politics of life. But Foucault never comes to the second part so this book is actually the comprehensive guide to the development of liberalism and neo-liberalism.

It starts with the Freiburg School which dealt with the same Weberian "irrational rationality" of capitalism as the Frankfurt School, but takes a co...more
Gregory Sotir
Foucault is Foucault, what can you say. Difficult and fascinating, able to comprehensively join together the currents and threads of our culture in an intellectually rigorous and stimulating way. These lectures gave me a far greater understanding of liberalism and neoliberalism than I believe I could have gained anywhere else. Listening to pundits and American politicians speak of these trends of capitalism after reading this just shows how unlearned most Americans are of things they should know...more
Conor Heaney
Picking up, at least at the beginning, from the 77-78 'Security, Territory, Population' lectures - where Foucault first delved into governmentality - The Birth of Biopolitics serves as Foucault's promise to talk about, well, biopolitics. He doesn't do this at all. Instead, Foucault tracks the problem of liberal governmentality through a level of analysis concerned with the rationality (or rather, types of rationality) by which state administration functions and proceeds. Liberalism, then, is vie...more
Excellent analysis about the neo-liberal governmentality!

Above all decisive differentia between German neo-liberalism(ordoliberalism) and American neo-liberalism.

Röpke said:“Competition is a principle of order in the domain of the market economy, but it is not a principle on which it would be possible to erect the whole of society. Morally and sociologically, competition is a principle that dissolves more than it unifies.”So, while establishing a policy such that competition can function econom...more
A decent if long-winded analysis of trends in liberal government since the Enlightenment. This was supposed to be an in-depth treatment of "biopolitics", or government intervention in the biological characteristics of the population (and this in turn an extension of Foucault's power-knowledge-self relationship).

However he never quite gets there as these lectures focus almost entirely on the twin movements of German ordoliberalism and American neo-liberalism (exemplified by the Chicago School of...more
If you want to know about biopolitics, this is not really the book to read. Foucault spent the majority of this semester detailing the ways in which his studies of liberalism, ordoliberlaism, and neoliberalism set the stage for his notion of biopolitics, but he doesn't actually get around to lecturing about biopolitics. Nonetheless, a fascinating read for anyone interested in "regimes of veridiction," as institutionalized systems of legitimate knowledge production and the effect this has on indi...more
The clearest and most compelling account of the development of economics and neoliberal economics I've read. It also reads like a script of our current political debacle in the US. So much clearer than the usual Foucault.
These lectures are excellent because in them we find Foucault draw on his ideas about power and bio-politics to analyze contemporary political scene in a way in which we do not find in any of his other major works.
May 26, 2009 Damian marked it as to-read
Shelves: on-shelf-to-read
I'm also part of the Foucault Society, and this is the book we are currently reading/discussing.
Murat Ucoglu
It is actually the best work on the history of contemporary neoliberal art of government.
Foucault talks contemporary Europe/US and economics. I can dig.
American anarcho-capitalism - that hit the nail on the head.
Sara-Maria Sorentino
read the chapters on american neo-liberalism
R. Kevin
The state as we now have it, alas.
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Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas. He held a chair at the Collège de France with the title "History of Systems of Thought," and lectured at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Berkeley.

Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison sys...more
More about Michel Foucault...
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language

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