Biopolitics is made of bio meaning life in a vital sense and politics. The word politics comes from Greek polis, city or State. Combining these two words, biopolitics is the power of the State over people’s health as shown in public heath policies, sanitary strategies, awareness, ministries and so on. Biopolitics is an intersectional field between human biology and politics. It is a political wisdom taking into consideration the administration of life and a locality’s populations as its subject. To quote Michel Foucault, it is “to ensure, sustain, and multiply life, to put this life in order.”
2020 was by far the year of biopolitics since the outbreak of covid19 and the vaccines strategies and race between countries as a new type of international politics: whoever produced the most efficient vaccine wins internationally. In other words, a strong country is defined by a strong vaccine. Politicians have become the marketers. However, many people around the world are reluctant towards the vaccine; did anyone analyze this new phenomenon of global mistrust?
Furthermore, does anyone have answers about the origins of covid19? Once, the bat was blamed. Then, it is said it was man made. Then, it was about global warming and massive deforestation. Then… Then….
Should we expect from now on that wars and politics to be defined by pandemics?
Words are revelations of the thinking process. A single word can speak thousands words about a new shift of mentality. Moreover, a single word can define an era, its challenges and its bright side. 2020 is no exception: it will always be remembered as the year of the pandemic as it is its main word. Let’s check the more important words of this year.
According to a quick google search, the list is very long and obviously some words can vary from one country to another depending on each country’s problems. However the common ones are:
Pandemic (which is an epidemic that has escalated to affect a large area and population) caused by the Coronavirus, later determined as Covid19 as a new generation of the coronavirus family.
Covid19 forced the world to be in quarantine (a state of enforced isolation designed to prevent the spread of disease) which gave us later the words lockdown and curfew as governmental ways to face the spread of the virus. Speaking of which the following words are direct results of the illness whether it is symptomatic or asymptomatic. For that sake, a PCR test have to be done to make sure if one has gotten the virus or not. For all these reasons, people have to wear masks and/or face shields, respect social distancing (which is more of a physical distancing) and hygiene instructions.
The direct consequence of the pandemic was shifting the way of life to adapt to the new worldwide situation. Therefore, work became work from home or remote work (and for that sake read my previous post about this subject Why does my food taste like emails? ), teaching online and selling online. Hence the frequent usage of words like Zoom call, Skypecall, Video call.
To sum up 2020 in one concept, it is the year of Biopolitics like never before.
As Christmas holidays are couple of days away, I can’t help but thinking about the phenomenon of life flipping and inverting spaces and time. Holidays are better spent away from home because home has become an office. Hence the title of this post.
Suddenly, a new wave of meanings and ideas are invading our lives, even to its private intimate core shelter that is home. Suddenly, many of us realize that we don’t have a work place in our houses. Basically, we work, eat and sleep in the same place; eyes glued to the screen and haven’t we all fell sometimes on the keyboard?
The utopian fantasy of creating a disciplined society, something history books witnessed in Nazism and Soviet Union, has never been better executed than these days worldwide. The scenery of lockdowns, social distancing and masks reminds us of science-fiction movies. However, on the inside, things are shaky. Being completely submissive to a monitoring system (or systems) is a wink to George Orwell’s 1984, where pasta can taste like emails. The utopia turned to a dystopia.
The name of the game is : biopolitics. Biopolitics is a concept invented by French philosopher Michel Foucault in which he explained how the State has power over our health, bodies, the social body and now through covid19 patients tracking apps, vaccine, climate change and so on.
On this Christmas eve, I really wish to all of us, less confusion and more clarity and peace to the soul.