Roberto Esposito is a professor of philosophy and assistant director at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane. In addition, he is one of the editors of the magazine Filosofia Politica, one of the founders of the European Political Dictionary, an international research center for legal and political language in Bologna (Centro per la Ricerca sul Lessico Politico Europeo), and he is a correspondent for the political philosophy magazine MicroMega. His main interest currently is biopolitics in contemporary philosophy. In his work he analyzes philosophical and political terms, and combines them with contemporary historical and theoretical political positions. His best known work is the trilogy Communitas, Immunitas, and Bios, dedicated to the thought of Jean-Luc Nancy, with whom he collaborated. The book considers questions of the disappearance of the community, its sustaining through protection (immunitas), and biopolitics seen from the perspective of immunitas (as a “negative protection of life”). His most recent book (Pensiero vivente. Origine e attualità della filosofia italiana, 2010) deals with trends in contemporary Italian philosophy, its difference from other philosophy cultures, and the possibility of surpassing these limits.
Roberto Esposito on “Biopolitics”
At Belgrade Cultural Center: Friday May 25th, 2012, 7pm
The Age of Biopolitics
In his lecture, Roberto Esposito sketches the genesis of the biopolitical paradigm, identifying the historical and conceptual gap that separates it from other contemporary political paradigms. The difference being that biopolitics is immediately and directly tied to the political and biological in life, radically altering the narrative of current politics. At a certain point, when placed in relation with the development that overcomes the need for immunization, and is crossed with racial ideologies, biopolitics turns into the praxis of death. Nazi thanatopolitics, as it was analyzed by Foucault and creatively reconsidered by contemporary Italian philosophy, presents the culmination of this phenomenon. With the conclusion of World War II, the space for a new, affirmative biopoltics was opened, even if its particulars remained vague.
Roberto Esposito on “Person”
Institute for philosophy and social theory: Thursday, May 24th, 2012, 5pm
Dispositif of Person
The notion of person is currently at the heart of nearly all philosophical, political, and legal discussions. Secularists as well as Christians, normally opposed to one another when it comes to the meaning of life, agree on the importance of the meaning ascribed to the idea of person. Only person confers a higher value on life from its purely biological aspect. Theorists of law also base the idea of universal human rights in a similar paradigm of person. Esposito deconstructs this concept and identifies it as a person which excludes and separates life from itself, subjecting it to the dominance of the pure will and reason, reducing the body to the animal or even a thing. To this essentially Catholic or Christian model, Esposito opposes the thinking of the impersonal.