Biopolitics and Ancient Thought

Jussi Backman (Editor), Antonio Cimino (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology or special issueScientificpeer-review


The volume studies, from different perspectives, the relationship between ancient thought and biopolitics, that is, theories, discourses, and practices in which the biological life of human populations becomes the focal point of political government. It thus continues and deepens the critical examination, in recent literature, of Michel Foucault's claim concerning the essentially modern character of biopolitics. The nine contributions comprised in the volume explore and utilize the notions of biopolitics and biopower as conceptual tools for articulating the differences and continuities between antiquity and modernity and for narrating Western intellectual and political history in general. Without committing itself to any particular thesis or approach, the volume evaluates both the relevance of ancient thought for the concept and theory of biopolitics and the relevance of biopolitical theory and ideas for the study of ancient thought. The volume is divided into three main parts: part I studies instances of biopolitics in ancient thought; part II focuses on aspects of ancient thought that elude or transcend biopolitics; and part III discusses several modern interpretations of ancient thought in the context of biopolitical theory.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Print)9780192847102
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeC2 Edited book

Publication series

NameClassics in Theory
PublisherOxford University Press

Fields of Science

  • 611 Philosophy
  • ancient philosophy
  • continental philosophy
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Hellenistic philosophy
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Michel Foucault
  • Giorgio Agamben
  • 5171 Political Science
  • biopolitics
  • political theory
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Michel Foucault
  • Giorgio Agamben
  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • ancient history
  • antiquity
  • Greek
  • 6122 Literature studies
  • ancient literature
  • Greek tragedy
  • Homer
  • epic poetry

Cite this