Vote negative to assume a politics that renders the biopolitical machine inoperative—the cessation of line-drawing under the sovereign body and assuming the situation of bare life reframes the ethical-political thought and inscribes a politics more open to potentialities Vaughan-Williams 2009, (Nick, Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online, “Border Politics: The Limits of Sovereign Power”, 3/12/09, 6/28/13|Ashwin) This leads Edkins to deny that sovereign power constitutes the only possible form of political life and, indeed, that it constitutes a political life at all.39 The suggestion that the biopolitical sovereign order does not constitute ‘a political life at all’ ties into a broader argument Edkins and Pin-Fat seek to establish: that sovereign power is not a relation of power in the Foucauldian sense, as discussed in Chapter 3, but rather one of violence .40 Relations of violence do not produce subjectivities in the same way as power relations. Instead, the former is a type of relation that involves the technologised administration of sovereign biopolitics: in other words a form of slavery or servitude.41 With the emergence of a global zone of indistinction in which we can no longer distinguish between ‘our biological life as living beings and our political existence’, the possibilities for resistance arguably have been curtailed.42 Thus, according to Edkins and Pin-Fat, any attempt at contesting sovereign biopolitics must, however paradoxical it may seem, seek to reinstall power relations ‘with their accompanying freedoms and potentialities ’.43 On this basis, the challenge for practical politics is to envisage how such a reinstallation might take place. Following Agamben's claim referred to earlier, that ‘it is by starting from this uncertain terrain and from this opaque zone of indistinction that today we must once again find the path of another politics, of another body, of another world’ , Edkins and Pin-Fat argue that strategies for contesting sovereign power ‘cannot consist of a call for a reinstatement of classical politics , a reinstatement of the distinction between zo ē and bios’.44 In other words, it will not do for any such contestation to find its basis in the very logic it is trying to overcome. Edkins emphasises that identity politics, associated with social movements, for instance, would reappropriate rather than displace that flawed logic .45 This is because, as she explains, identity-based claims ultimately work within the same horizon as sovereign power: ‘such a claim is a demand for inclusion in or recognition by the state, (p.141) not a claim that contests or disrupts the notions of inclusion and exclusion upon which sovereign power depends’.46 Rather, what is required is a displacement of the logic that might tie resistance back to sovereign politics : If a logic of sovereign power is identified that relies for its very operation on the production and organisation of bare life as a form of life that is hospitable to its operation, then it is in a
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- Fall '16
- Sovereignty, sovereign power