HSSA Speaker Series Biopolitics and Biopower in Putin's Russia

Lecture | May 2 | 10-11:30 a.m. | 650 Barrows Hall

 Professor Andrey Makarychev, Visiting Professor at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Science, University of Tartu (Estonia)

 Humanities and Social Sciences Association

This online lecture aims at introducing the concept of biopolitics, along with the multifaceted policies and practices this concept entails, into the field of Russian studies. Biopolitics not only brings up the issues of corporeality and sexuality at the top of political agenda; it also contains strong religious components, selective migration policy, and constructs new identities and loyalties on the basis of citizenship and passportization policies. In Russia biopolitics plays two roles – it stabilizes relations of power through control and regulation over people's bodies, and it constructs a new basis for post-ideological legitimacy grounded not in a strict adherence to the laws, but rather in a feeling of belonging to a “biopolitical community” imagined as being cemented by shared or common attitudes to and understanding of biopolitical norms, and by submission of individuals to mechanisms of biopolitical surveillance, control and regulation. The enactment of these mechanisms becomes possible on the basis of practices that contain strong potentialities for biopolitical totalization. Russia’s biopolitical project is characterized by the projection of conservative values and building political coalitions on the basis of resisting the Western liberal emancipatory biopolitics (exemplified, in particular, by EU principles of gender equality, anti-discrimination, pro-tolerance, etc.).

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 All Audiences