Democracy  &  Nature, Vol. 9, No. 3


Bio-politics and the social control of the multitude

Dario Padovan

Abstract: The categories of bio-politics and bio-power were invented by Michel Foucault, who wanted to underline a shifting in state political power toward the caring of biological life of the entire social body. This transformation of political power allowed a combination of techniques that aimed to control the individual body and the standardized multitude of bodies. This paper analyses the bio-political mechanisms and how did they work during the era of totalitarian states, and how do they act today. During the totalitarian era bio-politics became a tool of surveillance and regulation of the social body, shifting toward racism. During the second half of the 20th century, biopolitics sought to minimise social risks. Criminal and underclass policies, as well as new genetics, are all aspects of the new authoritarian bio-politics. Far from being a neutral tool to improve people's well being, the spectre of eugenics casts a shadow over the new biopolitics.