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From the Obligation of Birth to the Obligation of Care: Esposito’s Biophilosophy and Recalcati’s ‘New Symptoms’

Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2016) From the Obligation of Birth to the Obligation of Care: Esposito’s Biophilosophy and Recalcati’s ‘New Symptoms’. Culture, Theory and Critique, 58 (1). pp. 33-47. ISSN 1473-5776. (doi:10.1080/14735784.2016.1190290) (KAR id:55709)

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Abstract

This essay addresses the controversial status of subjectivity in Esposito’s affirmative biopolitics and articulates it using Recalcati’s psychoanalytical theory, with the aim of promoting a non-vitalistic affirmative biopolitics. In biopolitical theory in general, and in Esposito’s especially, subjectivity has a problematic status: while life precedes intersubjectivity, it is not clear whether subjectivity is regarded as a consequence or as the precondition of intersubjectivity (and thus of life). Esposito acknowledges such an aporia, the subjectum suppositum, but fails to recognise it in his own reasoning, ultimately envisioning a powerful interpretative and transformative paradigm—affirmative biopolitics—whilst leaving at its core a life-less subject. In this essay, I read Esposito’s affirmative biopolitics through Recalcati’s clinical approach to the ‘new symptoms’, with the aim of envisioning a subjectivity compatible with the ontogenetic primacy of life posited by biopolitical theory. Ultimately, the aim of this article is to suggest that an affirmative biopolitics, grounded on the promotion of neither a pre-subjective bare life, nor of a lifeless subject, but of a fully subjective life, a living subject is possible.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/14735784.2016.1190290
Uncontrolled keywords: Biopolitics, subjectivity, Italian theory, care, bare life, psychoanalysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PB Modern Languages
P Language and Literature > PC Romance philology and languages
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jacqueline Martlew
Date Deposited: 26 May 2016 14:54 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:35 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55709 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3001-9912
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