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Biopolitics

This is the English translation (by Oliver Farry) of an interview given in 2011 by the Italian phliosopher Giorgio Agamben to Akis Gavriilidis for the Greek public TV channel ET3. The video of the interview (with Greek & English subtitles), directed by Yorgos Keramidiotis, can be viewed here. With thanks to Aida Karanxha for the transcription.

Professor Agamben, we are making a documentary on biopolitics and we are speaking to you because you are one of the main exponents interested in this idea that, unless I am mistaken, comes from Foucault but which you have approached somewhat differently. You introduced the idea of the state of exception, of the camp. So what got you interested in biopolitics and what have you brought to it that is different to Foucault or others who have written on it?

 

The ideas of “biopolitics” and the “state of exception” are of course, for me, linked and that may not have been the case for Foucault. Naturally, the idea came to me from Foucault; I am entirely indebted to him for that. But at the same time I have tried to fuse the problems of biopolitics, namely the fact that life has become a political issue and that biology has become a political issue, with the problem of sovereignty, with the strictly political problem of sovereignty. But this is also why it appeared necessary to me to tie the political issues to those of the state of exception, which has perhaps become the paradigm. You might Read More