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The Bio-Theo-Politics of birth

By Lorenzo Chiesa


In this article I aim to show that, in their discussion of the possible biopolitical implications of the notion of birth, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Roberto Esposito share a similar vitalist notion of life. Both authors start off from the very same premise: before and outside of any symbolic (political and legal) constraining imposition on life, life is in itself a life as a unity of difference – a place of blind forces or a primordial intensity – that is as such sacredly blessed. On the one hand, Esposito’s analysis of birth as an affirmative biopolitical category can help us unveil the thanatopolitical implications of Pasolini’s critique of Italian legislation on abortion in so far as he resolutely condemns any discourse on the alleged degeneration of life. On the other, this very analysis is compromised by Esposito’s own Christian stance on life. In the final part of this paper, I argue that inasmuch as Esposito conceives birth as “the actual place in which a life makes itself two,” such a blessed One of difference presupposes a stance on the transcendent differentiality of life and legal obligation towards it that follows closely John Paul II’s encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae

Topics: PN0080, PQ
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0969725X.2011.621224
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