In his final chapter of Bios, Esposito attempts to outline an affirmative biopolitics that turns the Nazi politics of death into one that is “no longer over life but of life.” (157) He says this is possible by turning the three dispositifs of Nazism he identified in the previous chapter (the normativization of life, the double enclosure of the body, and the preemptive suppression of birth) inside out by extending the notions to include that which appears beyond their reach in order to create a bios that is “open to a more originary and intense sense of communitas.” (ibid) This all might make perfect sense to someone with a fuller theoretical background than me, but I really need some concrete examples here to wrap my head around. I somewhat get the first reversal he presents – that of the flesh extending beyond the body – as it follows previous class discussions concerning in vitro human cells. An interesting new discussion would be on how Esposito’s concept of flesh relates to Cooper’s concept of surplus life. Esposito appears on the verge of giving a practical example when he argues that flesh should be rethought outside of Christian language since it’s no longer the divine that’s penetrating the body during organ transplantation (168), but he doesn’t continue the organ transplant talk with the other two dispositifs.
I’m afraid much of my impatience with Esposito and what I view as his lack of practical direction stems from dealing with a stomach flu this weekend that made the rounds of my department last week. I doubt I’ll be in class tomorrow, so assign me whatever reading you want.