Publication details for Professor Ben AndersonAnderson, B. Affect and Biopower: Towards a Politics of Life. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2012;37:28-43.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0020-2754, 1475-5661
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00441.x
- Keywords: Affect, Life, Biopower, Biopolitics, Non-Representational Theories, Neo-liberalism
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
In this paper I stage an encounter between two concepts that have become popular placeholders for a broad concern with a politics of life: affect and biopower. Through engagement with Antonio Negri’s writings on the ‘real subsumption of life’ in contemporary capitalism and Michel Foucault’s lectures on neo-liberalism, I show that understanding how forms of biopower work through affect requires attending to three relations: affective relations and capacities are object-targets for discipline, biopolitics, security, and environmentality; affective life is the outside through which new ways of living may emerge; and specific collective affects (including ‘state-phobia’) are part of the conditions for the birth of forms of biopower. In what is simultaneously a departure from, and an affirmation of, recent work on affect, I argue that attending to the dynamics of affective life may become political as a counter to forms of biopower that work through processes of normalisation. The consequence is that understanding how biopower works on and through affect becomes a precondition for developing affirmative relations with affective life.