Community, Immunity, Biopolitics

Angelaki 18 (3):83-90 (2013)
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In this article, Roberto Esposito lays out the genealogical pathways linking the three major concepts around which his most recent work has wound its way: community, immunity, and biopolitics. Although immunity is necessary to the preservation of our life, when driven beyond a certain threshold it forces life into a sort of cage where not only our freedom gets lost but also the very meaning of our existence – that opening of existence outside itself that takes the name of communitas. A hermeneutics informed by immunity can allow the category of community to regain a new political significance, without ending up in a substantialist metaphysics. This task is dictated by the urgent need for an affirmative biopolitics – a horizon of meaning – in which life would no longer be the object but somehow the subject of politics. But what sort of shape would this take? Where would we trace its symptoms? And with what objectives? A preliminary answer focuses on breaking the vise grip between public and private that threatens to crush the common, by seeking instead to expand the space of the common, in the fight, for example, against the planned privatization of water and the battle over energy sources.



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