1st Edition

How the Powers That Be Make Us Do What They Want

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after June 17, 2021
ISBN 9780367438180
June 17, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
196 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Aylan, Isis, Begum, Grenfell, Trump. Harambe, Guantanamo, Syria, Brexit, Johnson. Covid, migrants, trolling, George Floyd, Trump.

Gazing over the fractured, contested territories of the current global situation, Watkin finds that all these diverse happenings have one element in common. They occur when biopolitical states, in trying to manage and protect the life rights of their citizens, habitually end up committing acts coercion or disregard against the very people they have promised to protect. When states tasked with making us live, find themselves letting us die, then they are practitioners of a particular kind of force that Watkin calls bioviolence.

This book explores and exposes the many aspects of contemporary biopower and bioviolence: neglect, exclusion, surveillance, regulation, encampment, trolling, fake news, terrorism and war. As it does so it demonstrates that the very term ‘violence’ is a discursive construct, an effect of language, made real by our behaviours, embodied by our institutions, and dissemination by our technologies. In short, bioviolence is how the contemporary powers that be make us do what they want.

Resolutely inter-disciplinary, this book is suitable for all scholars, students and general readers in the fields of IR, political theory, philosophy, the humanities, sociology and journalism.

Table of Contents

Preface - Long Hard Read: The Grenfell Tower Murders

Introduction: Michel Foucault, Biopolitics and the Abolition of Violence

Part One: Regulatory Bioviolence

Chapter 1 – Aylan Kurdi and the Index of Responsibility

Chapter 2 – The Construction of Life: Specie-fication, Race War and Immunitas

Chapter 3 – Rise of the Paedophobes! Or the Coercive Power of Norms, Regulation, Population and Massification in the Case of Migrant Children

Chapter 4 – Death on the Beaches: Bioviolence Defined

Part Two: Humanimals and Bare life

Chapter 5 – #Harambe, and the Construction of Life

Chapter 6 – Humanimals and the Abolition of Life

Part Three: Decapitation and the Digital Caliphate

Chapter 7 – ISIS and the Art of Decapitation

Chapter 8 – Biohistory: The Human, The Head, The Tool, The Cut and The Tribe

Part Four: The Global Camp

Chapter 9 – Days of Raqqa and the Bethnal Green Girls

Chapter 10 – Shamima Begum, our Femina Sacra

Chapter 11 – Reading Guantanamo or Camp as Coercion

Part Five: 2020, I can’t breathe

Chapter 12 – George Floyd and #BlackLivesmatter: Thoughts on the Concrete Plantation

Chapter 13 – Herd Immunities: Covid and Coercion

Conclusion: Apologia for a Theory of Political Acéphalism

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William Watkin is Professor of Contemporary Philosophy and Literature at Brunel University. He is the author of numerous books including In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde, On Mourning, The Literary Agamben and Agamben and Indifference. His most recent work, Badiou and Indifferent Being is the first of two volumes looking at Badiou’s Being and Event project. The second, Badiou and Communicable Worlds is out in 2020. He is currently working on a study of a philosophy of indifference called, simply, Indifference, and a follow-up to Bioviolence called Anti-Social Media: How big tech makes us do what it wants.