University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Journal publication date16 Sep 2018
Volume22
Issue3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Sep 2018

Abstract

This article examines Gilles Deleuze’s and Giorgio Agamben’s thought on the immanent creativity emergent from formal, impersonal life as a pathway for resistance to biopolitics. In Coldness and Cruelty, Deleuze explores masochism as the inversion of the sadistic, biopolitical use of the body which can bring forth genuinely new expressions. Agamben dismisses masochistic creativity because it leaves the dialectical ontology of biopower intact to alternatively conceptualise his form-of-life as a space of indiscernibility between ontological essence and legal-political actualisation. For Agamben, the form-of-life escapes biopolitical capture because it is absolutely detached from its relations. This article argues that the radicalness of this detachment calls into question the political capacity offered by the form-of-life to actively change the relations of biopower. Against this background, Deleuze’s masochistic eroticisation of power is revisited as offering an alternative, open conceptualisation of relationality as external to its terms and both thoroughly immanent and genuinely creative.

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