Course: Michel Focault
Written by: Rauf Ahmed
From the readings of two texts of Focault, one is the part five (Right of Death and Power over Life) from the book “History of Sexuality: vol. 1 Introduction” and second text is the eleventh lecture from the book “Society Must be Defended, Lectures at the college de France, 1975- 76” I try to articulate the Focault’s concept of biopower and its main notions in this writing.
“If genocide is indeed the dream of modern powers, this is not because of a recent return of the ancient right to kill, it is because power is situated and exercised at the level of life, the species, the race and the large scale phenomena of population.”[i],
with claiming this Focault taking the account of biopower from sixteenth century to twentieth century to prove his claim.
Focault describes that in ancient times the father of the Roman family have the right to “dispose” of the life of his children and his slaves, just as he had given them life, so he could take it away. But some theoreticians consider that it was conditioned and not absolute power of life and death. Sovereign can use his right only in that condition in which he is in danger or threatened by eternal or external enemies, only then he can put them in danger for his own sake. And if they retreat or rise up against him then in that case, he has right to take lives of them or let them live.[ii]
By the classical age, it was the juridical form of sovereign power, the right of a ruler to seize things, time, wealth, labour and lives of the subjects to suppress them.
Focault writes that since the classical age the west has undergone a very profound transformation of these mechanisms of power. Deduction has merely one element is a range of mechanisms working to generate, incite, reinforce, control, monitor, optimize and organize the force under it. A power bent of generating forces, making... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2012, 01). Focault’s Concept of Biopower and the Problem of Genocide. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 01, 2012, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Focault-s-Concept-Of-Biopower-And-The-901989.html
"Focault’s Concept of Biopower and the Problem of Genocide" StudyMode.com. 01 2012. 01 2012 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Focault-s-Concept-Of-Biopower-And-The-901989.html>.
"Focault’s Concept of Biopower and the Problem of Genocide." StudyMode.com. 01, 2012. Accessed 01, 2012. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Focault-s-Concept-Of-Biopower-And-The-901989.html.