Diacritics 36 (2):83-98 (2006)

This article explores the category of biopolitics through the use Roberto Esposito and Giorgio Agamben make of two Greek words, bios and ōē. In particular, I argue that the separation of bios and ōē as introduced in Homo Sacer has no "natural" nor "lingual" relevance. The exposition of such a fabulous antinomy simply ruins the historical matter of Agamben's discourse on biopolitics. Here, Esposito's research could be read as an attempt to found the category of biopolitics anew without repeating the fiction of a bifurcation between ōē and bios. However, Esposito, in his own celebration of biopower, undermines the very power of language and, thus, ignores the variation of the invariant that is history. Esposito's and Agamben's difficulties lead us back to the possible ambition of all politics to absorb all life, as it was already expressed by Aristotle. In this sense, "modern biopolitics" becomes a case study for the totalitarian temptation of political order
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DOI 10.1353/dia.2008.0013
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