Authored by: A. Kiarina Kordela

Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138696310
eBook ISBN: 9781315524771
Adobe ISBN:


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Biopolitics is indicative of the indispensability of psychoanalysis in developing political theory today. Freudian/Lacanian psychoanalysis postulates a radical reconceptualization of bios as not simply the biological body of the individual and the population (Foucault) or bare life (Agamben) but as the power of self-actualization (libido/drive/jouissance). These latter terms are psychoanalytic equivalents of both Spinoza’s substance and Marx’s labor power. Further psychoanalytic concepts, such as the law of incest prohibition and castration, reveal that any form of power is biopower, and Lacan’s discourses of the Master and the University represent some of the historical mutations of the transhistorical phenomenon of biopower. Finally, psychoanalysis reveals the profoundly religious character of capitalist biopower and the contemporary biopolitical interconnection of ideology, affect, and bioracism.

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