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Biopolitics of security in the 21st century: An Introduction.

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  • Jz International Relations
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science


Biopolitics of security in the 21st century: an introduction Review of International Studies (2008), 34, 265–292 Copyright � British International Studies Association doi:10.1017/S0260210508008024 Biopolitics of security in the 21st century: an introduction MICHAEL DILLON AND LUIS LOBO-GUERRERO* Abstract. This essay addresses two questions. It first asks what happens to security practices when they take species life as their referent object. It then asks what happens to security practices which take species life as their referent object when the very understanding of species life undergoes transformation and change. In the process of addressing these two questions the essay provides an exegesis of Michel Foucault’s analytic of biopolitics as a dispositif de sécurité and contrasts this account of security with that given by traditional geopolitical security discourses. The essay also theorises beyond Foucault when it interrogates the impact in the twentieth century of the compression of morbidity on populations and the molecular revolution on what we now understand life to be. It concludes that ‘population’, which was the empirical referent of early biopolitics, is being superseded by ‘heterogenesis’. This serves as the empirical referent for the recombinant biopolitics of security in the molecular age. ‘. . . freedom is nothing but the correlative development of apparatuses of security.’ Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population Introduction Despite the widespread significance of the biopoliticisation of security in the evolution of modern regimes of power, the biopoliticisation of security is a somewhat neglected story. While it is commonly known, for example, that biopower is a form of power over life whose vocation is to ‘make life live’,1 the powerful analytic of security offered by the biopolitics of ‘power over life’ is nonetheless also a somewhat neglected analytic especially in international relations and security studies.2 This * This article is part of

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