Friday, 3 November 2017

Biopopulism - The Biopolitical Frameworks of Neopopulisms

The next week seems to be very busy: between 9-11 November 2017 I will participate at Northeastern Political Science Association 49th Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. I am going to have a lecture concerning the biopolitical implication of contemporary populism. You can find the abstract of my lecture here and the draft paper on the Academia.edu.


This paper is a part of my research project investigating the political theoretical (Antal, 2017a; 2017b) and historical (Antal, 2017c) backgrounds of contemporary populism (neopopulism). I shape populism as a historical phenomenon and elaborate it in the context of Laclau’s theory. According to my hypothesis the populism has entered in its new phase using biopolitics and the discursive implications of biopower (the tools of propaganda, mass media, and moreover nowadays the post-truth, post-factual politics, fake news techniques). This phenomenon can be called, because of its biopolitical implications, as biopopulism which is using biopower to achieve biopolitical objectives. Harsin recognized the biopolitical nature of the post-truth systems: “The proliferating truth games extend biopower into psychopower – managing not simply ideologies, discourses, and bodies in institutional enclosures but attention itself.” (Harsin, 2015: 332.). In my view, there are two directions of biopolitical thinking are applicable to populism (Lemke, 2011). On the one hand, the state biological and racist form of biopower, which conceives life as the basis of politics. I will analyze here the main assumptions of Nationals Socialist biopopulism and demonstrate through the Hungarian example the nature of Communist biopopulism. On the other hand, populism has been analyzed here according to the three leading biopolitical narratives in the field of social and critical theory: the concept of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. I will put forward here a hypothesis concerning the biopolitical nature of contemporary populisms especially the populism of the nationalist right-wing. In my view, there is a remarkable tendency in the field of neopopulisms which use the biopower of modern state to regulate the human life, create a permanent state of exceptions and try to occupy the biopolitical production of financial capitalism. Furthermore, this paper will conclude bionationalism as a threat caused by biopopulism.



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