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ERIC Number: EJ865243
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
From Hegemony to Biopolitics
Swiffen, Amy
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v31 n2-3 p237-252 2009
In this article, the author reads the Fulford debate as an index to the current focus in cultural studies on hegemony and the cultural politics of difference, which the author argues connects to Imre Szeman's (2006) negative assessment of disentangling cultural studies from biopolitical ends. Rather than stay within the terms of the debate, however, the author focuses her reading through political philosophy's recent turn to biopolitics (Foucault 1978; Agamben 1998, 2005; Zizek 2004). The first half of the article analyzes the concept of hegemony and connects it to Michel Foucault's analysis of biopower, suggesting that the politics of cultural difference corresponds to a form of political power, which constitutes the political landscape one inhabits today but is not hegemonic. Through a critique of the politics of cultural difference for its implicatedness in the workings of biopower, the author argues that the relationship between culture and politics in terms of hegemony is not an adequate understanding of power in biopolitics, which in turn provides a context for understanding how a politics centered on cultural difference inevitably connects to biopolitics. The author also considers what difference a biopolitical conception of power makes to engaging with Fulford's comments and those of his interlocutors. Instead of taking sides, the author suggests that the debate is indicative of how the politics of difference is inextricably bound to a biopolitical emphasis on life and its unfolding. In the second half of the article, the author considers the implications of these critiques for the politics of cultural studies. She identifies one possible form of response in the work of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek, who both emphasize conceptions of universality and truth and the exclusion of attention to particularity and difference. The author concludes by returning to the Fulford debate through the conception of political power as biopower, to suggest that the concept of hegemony must be revised and perhaps even abandoned as the politics of cultural difference is irredeemably intertwined with biopolitics. (Contains 5 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A