Life struggles, liberal modernity, and the defence of logistical societies

This is a book which aims to overturn existing understandings of the origins and futures of the War on Terror for the purposes of International Relations theory. As the book shows, this is not a war in defence of the integrity of human life against an enemy defined simply by a contradictory will for the destruction of human life as commonly supposed by its liberal advocates. It is a war over the political constitution of life in which the limitations of liberal accounts of humanity are being put to the test if not rejected outright.

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The ‘war against war’ of the multitude

2935 The Biopolitics 12/9/06 11:06 Page 102 6 Biopolitical life: the ‘war against war’ of the multitude I B E R A L societies, while founded upon the challenge of the mastery of war in the name of a commitment to the promotion of peace and the enabling of human life, appear today to have rendered their subjection to the condition of war all but intractable. The mere sustenance of liberal societies now requires their permanent mobilisation for the waging of a war without end against an enemy of Terror which threatens the existence of the logistical way of

in The biopolitics of the war on terror

3 The biopolitics of recognition Homonationalist formulations of asylum indicate the possibility that the state is bound to appear to be proactive in creating conditions of fairness for LGBT asylum seekers. This chapter looks at the administrative management of asylum, and argues that there is a contradiction at the heart of the social problem of asylum: asylum discourses are based on a specific regime of justification, that of universalistic human rights, which are consistently negated by a tough practice of exclusion. This contradiction puts the state at risk

in Discourses on LGBT asylum in the UK
Malthus, Hodge and the racialisation of the poor

social policy. This shift can be usefully be understood as a form of what Michael Foucault has labelled biopolitics, a profound change in the nineteenth century from sovereign power, or the rule of the sword, which rested on the right to take life or to let live, to the state now being invested with a new right to make live and to let die. 2 As David Nally has put it, this did

in The politics of hunger

1 Biopolitics and the technological subject In the last resort, it is always life itself which is the supreme standard to which everything else is referred, and the interests of the individual as well as the interests of mankind are always equated with individual life or the life of the species as though it was a matter of course that life is the highest good

in Death machines
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War, sovereignty, and resistance to the biopolitical imperium

2935 The Biopolitics 12/9/06 11:06 Page 40 3 Nomadic life: war, sovereignty, and resistance to the biopolitical imperium N T H E previous two chapters we developed a critique of liberal claims as to the superiorly pacific ways of life established in liberal societies through their passage to and journey through modernity. In turn we developed an explanation for the ways in which liberal societies have organised and mobilised for war historically, predicated upon the ways in which they construe and have pursued peace. This account, developed through Foucault

in The biopolitics of the war on terror

2 Biopolitical technologies in Arendt and Foucault As a category of revolutionary thought, the notion of historical necessity had more to recommend itself than the mere spectacle of the French Revolution … Behind the appearances was a reality, and this reality was biological and not historical, though it appeared now perhaps for the first time in the full light of history

in Death machines
A biopolitical critique

2935 The Biopolitics 12/9/06 11:06 Page 1 1 War and liberal modernity: a biopolitical critique I T N E S S E D from the vantage point of a twenty-first century characterised by the apparent pacification and interdependence of societies globally, liberalism would look to have proven itself the most authoritative account of the development of modern international relations. Definitive of liberalism has been its belief in the ability to establish societies through the removal of life from the condition of war and the provision of political means to allow human

in The biopolitics of the war on terror
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2935 The Biopolitics 12/9/06 11:06 Page 124 Epilogue The liberal desire for the removal of life from its subjection to the condition of war, and its will to secure global conditions for the peaceful flourishing of humanity, is futile. This much has long since been known. However the liberal project has not failed simply because it struggles to recognise, as other studies have amply demonstrated, the depth and complexity of the roles of war and violence in constitution of the societies and formations of political power it has sought to transform in the

in The biopolitics of the war on terror
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The seductions of Terror amid the tyranny of the human

2935 The Biopolitics 12/9/06 11:06 Page 62 4 Defiant life: the seductions of Terror amid the tyranny of the human N T H E previous two chapters we examined the roots of the War on Terror in the development of liberal modernity and the roles of disciplinary and biopolitical regimes in constituting it. This is not a war that can be understood in the simplistic terms ascribed to it in many of the critical responses to it to date, where it is largely argued that we are witnessing in it a return of a form of imperialism grounded in an old-fashioned conception of

in The biopolitics of the war on terror