Subjectivity, biopolitics and co-optation

Filed under:Brief arguments — posted by Schizostroller on January 4, 2019 @ 9:36 am

Friday morning thoughts.

For those wrestling with ideas of subjectivity, biopolitics and co-optation it is worth understanding that:

Not only is subjectivisation the moulding and disciplining of docile bodies by outside forces, but the deliberate manipulation and nudging of the biopolitical life forces created in resistance to these outside forces. Capitalism is the exploitation of this (the cause may well go back to the Urstaat’s of Mesopotamia and other early city states).

There are two responses to this, one using Hannah Arendt’s biopolitics (her book Human Condition is acknowledged as a master class in biopolitics long before Foucault wrote History of Sexuality) where she argues that all actions have unintended consequences, so there is only so much control the nudging of the resistance can have and there are always new forms of freedom forming from the surplus created. Even if ultimately forces of domination will attempt to co-opt this surplus, something capitalism is particularly good at and is how it creates new markets. It is in the gap between that revolution builds up a head of steam.

The other is post-Gramscian Marxism that argues for different methods of organisation in order to direct this surplus (this gap between) out of the grasp and exploitation by capitalism – whether it can ever be successful is another matter – Accelerationism being one particular criticism of this.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace