Reproductive politics, biopolitics and auto-immunity: From Foucault to Esposito [Book Review]

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 7 (2):217-226 (2010)
Abstract
The contingent cultural, epistemological and ontological status of biology is highlighted by changes in attitudes towards reproductive politics in the history of feminist movements. Consider, for example, the American, British, and numerous European instances of feminist sympathy for eugenics at the turn of the century. This amounted to a specific formation of the role, in late nineteenth and early twentieth century feminisms, of concepts of biological risk and defence, which were transformed into the justificatory language of rights claims. In this context, one can ask how reproductive politics are to be fitted into the paradoxical relationship between biopolitics and thanatopolitics discussed by Michel Foucault and more recently by Roberto Esposito. In this context, “reproductive life,” can be thought of arising at the intersection of thanapolitics and biopolitics as these relate to women’s bodies. Revisiting Foucault and Esposito in the light of reproductive politics also allows a reconsideration of the paradoxical feminist aims involved in defending individual rights by reference to overall biopolitical interest and futurity.
Keywords Feminist ethics  Reproductive ethics  Biopolitics  Foucault  Eugenics
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