Biopolitical Disaster: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Biopolitical Disaster

1st Edition

Edited by Jennifer L. Lawrence, Sarah Marie Wiebe


278 pages

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Hardback: 9781138659452
pub: 2017-07-07
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315620213
pub: 2017-07-14
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Biopolitical Disaster employs a grounded analysis of the production and lived-experience of biopolitical life in order to illustrate how disaster production and response are intimately interconnected. The book is organized into four parts, each revealing how socio-environmental consequences of instrumentalist environmentalities produce disastrous settings and political experiences that are evident in our contemporary world.

Beginning with "Commodifying crisis," the volume focuses on the inherent production of disaster that is bound to the crisis tendency of capitalism. The second part, "Governmentalities of disaster," addresses material and discursive questions of governance, the role of the state, as well as questions of democracy. This part explores the linkage between problematic environmental rationalities and policies. Third, the volume considers how and where the (de)valuation of life itself takes shape within the theme of "Affected bodies," and investigates the corporeal impacts of disastrous biopolitics. The final part, "Environmental aesthetics and resistance," fuses concepts from affect theory, feminist studies, post-positivism, and contemporary political theory to identify sites and practices of political resistance to biopower.

Biopolitical Disaster will be of great interest to postgraduates, researchers, and academic scholars working in Political ecology; Geopolitics; Feminist critique; Intersectionality; Environmental politics; Science and technology studies; Disaster studies; Political theory; Indigenous studies; Aesthetics; and Resistance.

Table of Contents


Warren Magnusson 


Jennifer Lawrence and Sarah Marie Wiebe

Part I - Commodifying Crisis                                                                         

Chapter 1: "Manufacturing Biopolitical Disaster: Instrumental (Ir)Rationality and Deepwater Horizon"

Jennifer L. Lawrence

Chapter 2: "Disaster Biopolitics and the Crisis Economy"

Kevin Grove                                                         

Chapter 3: "Life as Half Lives: The Nuclear Condition and Biopolitical Disaster"

Timothy W. Luke

Chapter 4: "Even Natural Disasters Are Unlikely to Slow Us Down…": Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility as Well-Crafted Political Judgment"

Andy Scerri and Nader Sobhani 

Part II - Governmentalities of Disaster

Chapter 5: "The Governmentality of Disaster Resilience"

Peter Rogers

                                         Chapter 6: "Catastrophe and Catastrophic Thought"

Garnet Kindervater                                               

Chapter 7: "Politics of re-radicalising the Deracinated as Invasive Species: Human Displacement, Environmental Disasters of State Enclosures and the Irradicability of Biodiversity"

Mark F.N. Franke                                              

Part III - Affected Bodies

Chapter 8: "Emergency Life and Indigenous Resistance: Seeing Biopolitical Disaster through a Prismatic lens"

Sarah Marie Wiebe

                                           Chapter 9: "Marginally Managed: ‘Letting Die’ and Fighting Back in the Oil Sands

Emily Ray 

Chapter 10: "Of Course They Count, But Not Right Now:" Regulating Precarity In Lee Maracle’s Ravensong and Celia’s Song

Dallas Hunt                                                                   

Chapter 11: "Life at All Costs: The Biopolitics of Chemotherapy in Contemporary Telivision and Film"

Teena Gabrielson

Part IV - Environmental Aesthetics and Resistance                                                                                        

Chapter 12: "The Great Turning"

Christine Fry

Chapter 13: "The Underestimated Power Effects of the Discourses and Practices of the Food Justice Movement"

Eric Darier                                             

Chapter 14: "Interrogating the Disastrous Biopolitics of the Sustainable Development-Resilience Nexus"

Julian Reid

Chapter 15: "The Aesthetics of Triage: Towards Life Beyond Survival"

Geoffrey Whitehall

End Piece: "Dealing with Disastrous Life" .

Francois Debrix

About the Editors

Jennifer L. Lawrence is Postdoctoral Research Associate at The Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, Virginia Tech, USA.

Sarah Marie Wiebe is Assistant Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Department of Political Science, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Cultural Policy