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Improper Life

Improper Life: Technology and Biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben

Series: Posthumanities
Volume: 18
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Improper Life
    Book Description:

    Has biopolitics actually become thanatopolitics, a field of study obsessed with death? Timothy C. Campbell argues that a “crypto-thanatopolitics” can be teased out of Heidegger’s critique of technology and that some of the leading scholars of biopolitics have been substantively influenced by Heidegger’s thought. Campbell articulates a corrective biopolitics that can begin with rereadings of Foucault, Freud, and Gilles Deleuze.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7843-3
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE Bíos between Thanatos and Technē
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 DIVISIONS OF THE PROPER Heidegger, Technology, and the Biopolitical
    (pp. 1-30)

    That this chapter should open with the thought of Martin Heidegger in a context of the thanatopolitical is perhaps surprising. Yes, it’s certainly true that Heidegger’s thought continues to generate enormous attention—one need only consider the titles that appear every year dedicated to him¹—but my impression is that few have attempted to set out the profound connections that join his thought to a larger drift of contemporary thought toward the thanatopolitical.² In the following pages, I want to sketch the path of that drift by examining two terms that appear across Heidegger’s thought. The first is immediately recognizable,...

    (pp. 31-82)

    In the preceding chapter, I took up the question of the relation between thanatopolitics and technology in the thought of Martin Heidegger by focusing on the distinction between proper and improper writing. In this chapter, I want to turn to two of the most important Italian philosophers writing today in an ostensibly thanatopolitical key: Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito. To say that Agamben’s thought is deeply indebted to Heidegger is, of course, to state nothing new. From the 1977Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Cultureto his most recentThe Kingdom and the Gloryas well asThe Signature...

  6. 3 BARELY BREATHING Sloterdijk’s Immunitary Biopolitics
    (pp. 83-118)

    This chapter grows out of an abiding appreciation of that philosopher who, along with Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito, has attempted to think through the aporiae of the biopolitical. In those important pages in which the thanatopolitical springs forth, German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explicitly deploys a Heideggerian perspective on developments in biotechnology as a way not only of justifying biotechnological “improvements” in humanity but indeed of offering a wide-ranging defense of biotechnology read in a medialogical key. These essays, in particular “Rules for the Human Zoo” and “Domestikation des Seins: Die Verdeutlichung derLichtung,” caused an enormous uproar in Germany...

  7. 4 PRACTICING BÍOS Attention and Play as Technē
    (pp. 119-156)

    Is the drift toward thanatos the only possibility for contemporary forms of technologized existence? With increased technologization and its contamination with apparatuses, isbíosnow pursuing a “decisive tack” in which “any residual hint of the anthropological is abandoned in the fact that techn-ology becomes properly speaking a thanato-logy?”¹ And with greater thanatology, must our responses be measured only in terms of managed births, as Sloterdijk polemically suggests, guarded over by Platonic human zookeepers?

    In this chapter, I want to think another possibility fortechnēandbíosthat will require repositioningtechnēas a practice able to configure different forms...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 157-184)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 185-190)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-193)