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The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979 (Lectures at the Collège de France) Hardcover – June 10, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Foucault must be reckoned with by humanists, social scientists, and political activists."--The New York Times Book Review

"Foucault has an alert and sensitive mind that can ignore the familiar surfaces of established intellectual codes and ask new questions. . . . He gives dramatic quality to the movement of culture."--The New York Review of Books

"Foucault is quite central to our sense of where we are. . . .  [His work carries] out, in the noblest way, the promiscuous aim of true culture."--The Nation

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

MICHEL FOUCAULT, acknowledged as the pre-eminent philosopher of France in the 1970s and 1980s, continues to have enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines.

ARNOLD I. DAVIDSON is the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and Professor of the History of Political Philosophy at the University of Pisa.  He is co-editor of the volume Michel Foucault: Philosophie.

GRAHAM BURCHELL is Translator, and has written essays on Michel Foucault and is an Editor of The Foucault Effect.
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Product Details

  • Series: Lectures at the Collège de France (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403986541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403986542
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Daniel T. O'hara on September 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
These lectures demonstrate persuasively that the attempt to master life, especially human life, is not the legacy of Nazism or sci-fi nightmares, but the spontaneous consequence of economic liberalism in its modern form. The idea that government should intervene in society but only to establish, strengthen, and extend the market and its principles to all areas of society means that the population must be managed and even remediated or improved to ensure its members can participate productively in the market. Foucault ends these lectures, after this important demonstration, by showing how the idea of civil society is both a complement to this vision of the market economy and the motor of history that leads to potentially radical changes in politics. This book is a must-read for all serious students of Foucault, critical theory, and contemporary politics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a historian doing researches on the economic and legal development in Chinese early modern history. Reading Foucault's The Birth of Biopolitics is a wonderful experience, I learned a lot and cannot help but to think that the dialectics between "external politics" and "internal politics" in Europe from 17thc on may probably constitute an interesting and plausible comparative framework against the deployment of statecraft project in the sixteenth to eighteenth century China.
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13 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. CHIASSON on March 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book in French when it was first published in 2004. At the time the topic meant very little to me in that we were living in a world that had re-elected GWB and seemed somehow to have found stability in its grandiose fantasies... House prices were up up up... The Stock market was up up up... Iraq was becoming another Vietnam ... Liberal thought was as solid a dogma as ever and not a set of evolving ideas ... We lived in a form of ideologically blocked society. `If you're not for us...' The Security volume caught my attention. Last week - after having it literally fall on my knee - I picked it up and opened it. Not only was it fascinating but it helped me understand better the thinking behind the world that fell apart these past six months. A great read and his developments on liberalism are clear and brilliant!
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jake O'Connor on October 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A book that was due to be translated in English and provides the first attempt of Foucault to cirscumscribe the neoliberal enterprise.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Runamuck on August 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of lectures that Foucault gave. They are focused on the development of Neo-liberalism after World War II, in Germany and the U.S. Foucault traces the development of this theory and how how it differs in Germany and the U.S. respectively. The book being a collection of his lectures, it is at times choppy when reading, because at times the recordings were not able to pick up what was being said. The editor of the book does a wonderful job at acknowledging these parts, but I did not find them detracting from the work. The editor also wrote the lectures in a way that reproduces the lecture so that one can close their eyes and easily imagine themselves there listing to them. The analysis of Neo-Liberalism in this book is the best that I have ever read, and the depth of thought is amazing. It is not an easy read, but one that anyone interested in theory or Foucault should read. It is enjoyable and worth every penny spent.
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