Zolkos, M. (2018). Life as a political problem: the post-human turn in political theory. Political Studies Review,3(16), 192-204. United Kingdom: SAGE Publications Inc.. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1478929917720431
The post-human turn in political theory has challenged the anthropocentric assumption that individuated human agency is the exclusive domain of political action, subjectivity, and community. Recently, there has emerged an important intersection between, on one hand, the “post-human turn” in political theory and, on the other hand, the critical studies of neoliberal governance and ideology, which define the contemporary historical moment in terms of the late capitalist monitoring, regulation, and exploitation of biological life of populations. In this context, the post-human turn in political theory has meant the extension of focus from human agency to include animals, plants, inanimate objects, and machines. Focusing on the work of Catherine Malabou, Maurizio Lazzarato, Brian Massumi, Brad Evans, and Julian Reid, I discuss some of the problems that arise from the attempt at non-anthropocentric theorizing of politics, including what it means—theoretically, politically, and epistemologically—to consider biological and machinic units in terms of political agency. I suggest that the problems encountered by these post-humanist contributions to the field of political theory are epistemological, analytical, and political. I focus in particular on whether the non-anthropocentric refiguring of politics offers new critical insights into, and resistances against, neoliberal governance.
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