Immunological Discourse in Political Philosophy : Immunisation and its Discontents book cover
1st Edition

Immunological Discourse in Political Philosophy
Immunisation and its Discontents

ISBN 9780367596989
Published June 29, 2020 by Routledge
166 Pages

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Book Description

Given the propensity of contemporary protection measures such as counterterrorism efforts and fierce protection strategies against viral threats, as well as physical and legal barriers against migration, a number of political philosophers, including Peter Sloterdijk and Roberto Esposito, have claimed that contemporary (political) culture can be characterised by a so-called ’immunisation paradigm’. This book critically examines the intricate entanglement between biological immunological notions and their political philosophical appropriation, whilst studying the ’immunisation response’ to recent viral threats, including the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009 and the lab-bred Avian flu threat of 2012, to analyse immunisation as a biopolitical strategy. Offering insights into to the polarising tendencies in contemporary political culture resulting from the appropriation of immunological concepts in political thought, the author also shows how political philosophers tend to build on purely defensive understandings of immunity. As such, Immunological Discourse in Political Philosophy constitutes a theoretically sophisticated critique of the ’semantic trap’ caused by the use of immunological concepts in political philosophy. Arguing for a more versatile and less defensive immunological repertoire, which allows for the development of alternative and less polarised forms of political debate, this book will appeal to scholars of political theory, sociology, philosophy and science and technology studies.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



1. Introducing the relation between biology and politics

PART I Biological immunisation

2. The roots of philosophical immunity

3. Developments in immunology

4. Immunisation against viral threats

PART II Philosophical immunisation

5. Sloterdijk’s ‘Immunology of Spheres’

6. Alternative immunological concepts in political philosophy


7. Towards a common philosophical immunological repertoire



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Inge Mutsaers completed her doctoral work at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and is currently an independent researcher and policy advisor to the Dutch College of General Practitioners.