Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Anthropological Machines, Biopolitics, Production and Genealogy of (bare) Life

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.10.00  Humanities  Philosophy   

Code Science Field
H125  Humanities  Philosophical anthropology 
Anthropology, philosophy, biopolitics, genealogy, life, production, humanization, being
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (7)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22291  MSc Matej Ažman  Humanities  Researcher  2007 - 2009  15 
2.  06589  PhD Aleš Erjavec  Philosophy  Researcher  2007 - 2009  755 
3.  11486  PhD Marina Gržinić Mauhler  Philosophy  Head  2007 - 2009  1,681 
4.  13472  PhD Peter Klepec  Philosophy  Researcher  2007 - 2009  285 
5.  02155  PhD Radivoj Riha  Philosophy  Researcher  2007 - 2009  321 
6.  12330  PhD Matjaž Vesel  Philosophy  Researcher  2007 - 2009  174 
7.  11158  PhD Alenka Zupančič Žerdin  Philosophy  Researcher  2007 - 2009  417 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,799 
The research will carry out a detailed philosophical analysis of the concept of life as elaborated by different branches of contemporary anthropology. It will focus upon the process of production of life, taking for its staring point the anthropological machine as paradigm of contemporary conceptions of life. Drawing on the concept of biopolitics it will try to trace more precise limits of transformations of life in contemporary anthropology and political philosophy. Presented and analysed will be the philosophical history of notions of human being and of life, two crucial notions in the lately predominant conception of history as history of becoming-human. The research will not be limited only to philosophy, but will also include some of the key anthropological concepts. The reason for this is that philosophy and anthropology are both responsible for the establishing of anthropogenesis – a process that considers all life from the perspective of becoming-human. Apart from Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, it was Giorgio Agamben who contributed most to the contemporary critical evaluation of anthropogenesis and biopolitics. Most relevant for our research is his thesis according to which there are two types or two modes of life that states promote in the era of globalisation: the modal life and the bare life. The first type, the modal life, is identified with the notion of life as existing in western democratic, consumerist societies; the life-style it implies could be defined as the life-that-chooses. The other type, the bare life as bare ground of life, is in itself split in two: on the one hand, it is the fundament of sovereignty of all contemporary states, regardless of their “development” or their level of democracy; on the other hand it is embodied, above all, in the underdeveloped societies or societies in the process of democratisation. The research of the genealogy of the concept of life in the western tradition of thought will start from the following thesis: in western democratic societies life appears as that which is impossible to define. This impossibility of an exact determination of life has, as a consequence, a never-ending process of splitting and (sub-)dividing of the notion of life itself. In our research we will confront two genealogies of the concept of life: the official, predominant one, dictating cultural, political and ethical standards of contemporary societies, and another genealogy of the concept life, revealing what is repressed, neglected, ignored in the first genealogy, or excluded from it.
Significance for science
The most important contribution of the research is its specific way of establishing a connection between philosophy, anthropology, political theory and sociology. The key notion of this connection is that of the anthropological machine marking a fundamental transformation in the conception of the relationship between nature and man. The anthropological machine is presented as operator that produces the human (and humanity) by including in the human that which is foreign and heterogeneous to it, namely the inhuman.An important contribution consists in bringing forward the ethical, normative and prescriptive dimensions of the anthropological machine, making it easier to recognize its role in the supposedly neutral definitions of human and animal. Project has shown that global capitalism is increasingly not only concentrating on life itself, but makes profits from death. In the light of the notion of biopolitics it is exposed how the contemporary politicization of life induces processes of precarity and produces a growing uncertainty of life. With this the research opened a space for possible reflection on the future of the democratic political process in contemporary societies, as well as for the critical ethical reflection of the process of humanization.
Significance for the country
In Slovenia, the results of this project gave a significant contribution to philosophical and anthropological elucidation of the process of the production of life and of the functioning of the anthropological machine in our specific circumstances of the political and economic transformation of society. It also contributed substantially in forming arguments in the debate on human rights in Slovenia and on the place of Slovenia in the European processes of integration
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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