1st Edition

Jean Bodin and Biopolitics Before the Biopolitical Era

By Samuel Lindholm Copyright 2024

    This book offers fresh perspectives on the history of biopolitics and the connection between this and the technology of sovereign power, which disregards or eliminates life.

    By analyzing Jean Bodin’s political thought, which acts as a prime example of early modern biopolitics and proves that the two technologies can coexist while maintaining their conceptual distinction, the author combines Foucauldian genealogy with political theory and intellectual history to argue that Michel Foucault is mistaken in presuming that biopolitics is an explicitly modern occurrence. The book examines Bodin’s work on areas such as populationism; censors; climates, humors, and temperaments; and witch hunts.

    This pioneering book is the first English-language volume to focus on the biopolitical aspects of Bodin’s work, with a Foucauldian reading of his political thought. It will appeal to students and scholars of political theory, sovereignty, and governance.

    1. Introduction

    2. Biopolitics and Sovereign Power

    3. Jean Bodin and Politics: Theory and Practice

    4. Bodin’s Population Theory and Populationism

    5. Censors, Censuses, and Biopolitics

    6. The Political Nature of Climates and Temperaments

    7. The Biopolitical Aspects of a Demonology

    8. Rethinking Sovereignty and Biopolitics with Bodin

    9. Conclusions


    Samuel Lindholm is a political scientist working as a postdoctoral grant researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Currently, he focuses on investigating the biopolitical elements in early modern political thought and formulating clearer demarcations for the concepts of biopolitics, sovereign power, and governmentality.

    "Jean Bodin and Biopolitics Before the Biopolitical Era is a highly readable and impressive work of scholarly erudition that presents the reader with an original and compelling interpretation of the history of biopolitics and sovereignty. I would recommend it to anyone interested in biopolitics and the history of political thought."

    Professor Mika Ojakangas, University of Jyväskylä, Finland