Biopolitical Media: Catastrophe, Immunity and Bare Life, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Biopolitical Media

Catastrophe, Immunity and Bare Life, 1st Edition

By Allen Meek


166 pages

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This book presents an historical account of media and catastrophe that engages with theories of biopolitics in the work of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri and others. It explains how responses to catastrophe in media and cultural criticism over the past 150 years are embedded in biological conceptions of life and death, contamination and immunity, race and species. Mediated catastrophe is often understood today in terms of collective memory and according to therapeutic or redemptive accounts of trauma. In contrast to these approaches this book emphasizes the use of media to record, archive and analyze physical appearance and movement; to capture viewer attention through shock; to monitor and control bodies in economies of production and consumption; to enmesh social relations in information networks; and situate subjects in discourses of victimhood, immunity, survival and resilience. Chapters are focused on historical case studies of early photography, Nazi propaganda, colonial stereotypes, Hiroshima, the Holocaust, the Cold War and the war on terror.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Biotype and the Anthropological Machine 2. Natural History and Nazi Media 3. Colonial Trauma and the Holocaust 4. The Biopolitical Imagination 5. The Immunity of Empire

About the Author

Allen Meek is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand. He is the author of Trauma and Media (Routledge 2010). He has recent chapters on trauma, catastrophe and biopolitics in The Fourth Eye: Maori Media in Aotearoa (2013) and Film on the Fault Line (2015).

About the Series

Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies

Cultural and media studies are now well-established as important academic disciplines and are inspiring new research into a wide range of pertinent issues. This series presents outstanding research in these subjects, helping to shape the direction of future inquiry.


To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies
[email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Art & Politics
ART / Film & Video
HISTORY / Holocaust
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies