EISSN 2532-3474 - ISSN 2532-649X - Padova University Press

Human Rights and Biopolitics between Sovereign Power, Domination and Genealogies

TitleHuman Rights and Biopolitics between Sovereign Power, Domination and Genealogies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCastellani, D.
Secondary TitlePeace Human Rights Governance
Date Published07/2017
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2532-3474
Keywordsbiopolitics, domination, genealogy, history, Human Rights, sovereign power

In Homo Sacer Agamben proposes a vision of politics as biopolitics since its Greek origins. While this new awareness becomes the conceptual domain in which re-interpret some political categories, at the same time it shows how sovereign power, in this biopolitical perspective, reduces individual human beings to mere life and makes every kind of right, included human rights, a screen hiding what reveals to be a tyranny. For a possible way out of this dead end we can look at the Foucauldian reading of power as domination. In this article we will try to show how Foucauldian replacement of sovereignty with domination is rooted in a vision of history to Nietzsche’s genealogies, and that seems having interesting contacts with some concepts of Benjamin, in particular the idea of reactivation of apparently exhausted historical lines. Waiting for further studies about the compatibility of domination with human rights, this article suggests that the historico-philosophical tools Foucault uses to oppose domination to sovereign power can be used to set human rights free from the dead end the sovereign vision constrains them. A comparison between the Foucauldian and the Agambenian reading of Hobbes will be used to better illustrate the differences among the two perspectives.