Title page for ETD etd-11102006-113703

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Basu, Marina
URN etd-11102006-113703
Title Biopolitics or the Legislation of Life: A Foucauldian Analysis
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Philosophy & Religious Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gregory Schufreider Committee Chair
Denise Egea-Kuehne Committee Member
Kaustuv Roy Committee Member
  • melissa ann rowland
  • michel foucault
  • bio-politics
  • bio-power
  • power-knowledge
  • discourse
  • normalization
  • medicalization of pregnancy
  • subject
  • drug use during pregnancy
Date of Defense 2006-11-03
Availability unrestricted
Michel Foucault uses the term biopolitics to highlight the focus on life that is at the center of contemporary politics. Biopower or biopolitics is the maximization of life through various regulatory apparatuses that monitor, modify, and control life processes. I elucidate and exemplify Foucault's framework in order to show how the medical discourse exercises a certain kind of power over bodies in the name of health. My argument is that through the mechanisms of biopower, the juridico-medical discourse simultaneously makes pregnancy into an object of study and the pregnant woman into a subject of power. With the help of a Foucauldian interpretation, I attempt to unmask the not-so-visible techniques of biopolitics that surround the pregnant woman. The unmasking makes it possible to think differently which is the primary task of philosophy. Specifically, such a critique helps in reformulating the problem as one of subjectivation.
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