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Power and Body. Biopolitics in Post-Structuralist Studies

Student: Ekaterina Lavrova

Supervisor: Anastasia V. Ugleva

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Philosophy (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The gradual blurring of boundaries between “the private” and “the public”, the penetration to the “private territory”, the inclusion of natural life in the mechanisms and calculations of state power, according to the famous researcher of power Michel Foucault, begins in the Modern Age. This is the starting point, in his opinion, of a new political course, when politics gradually began to transform into biopolitics. Biopower, which arose in the disciplinary society, under the pretext of caring for it, increasingly strengthens its disciplining function, in fact – “supervising” and “punishing”. The body of the subject turns out to be a special subject of biopower, the care of which is proclaimed by biopower as its key task. However, it is obvious that the body is not just a living organism, but also a means of working with consciousness. Biopower disseminates “knowledge” under the guise of information, usually devoid of an objective basis, by definition requiring interpretation, establishing and imposing a certain universal “norm” that is increasingly acquiring a legalistic character, hence the necessarily accompanying sanction, which requires the development of the penitentiary system. Biopower imposes its interpretation of “truth”, completely mastering the life of the individual, enslaving his consciousness, subordinating his mentality and behavior from the outside to established rules and blurring the boundaries of the private until it completely dissolves in the public space, which is easier to external control and, accordingly, manipulate as consciousness and body. The purpose of this work is to identify in the works of Western poststructuralist thinkers (Foucault, Agamben, Butler, Hardt, Negri, etc.) the most effective predictively models of “biopower” and “biopolitics” that can be used to analyze the relationship between power and the body, power and consciousness in post-truth, pandemic and post-pandemic states of society.

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