* 틈나는 대로 아감벤의 Remnants of Auschwitz : The Witness and the Archive, trans., Haniel Heller-Roazen, Zone Books를 옮긴다. 일단 영역본으로 옮긴 후에, 불역본과 대조하여 차이가 있는 경우에만 한하여 불역본으로 수정을 할 것이다. 인용의 편의를 위해 영역본의 쪽수를 병기한다. (2009. 07. 18 작업 시작)

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82쪽.
2-24. 미셸 푸코는 우리 시대에서 죽음의 영락(零落, degradation)에 관해 정치적 용어를 사용해 하나의 설명을 제시한다. 이 설명은 죽음의 영락을 근대 시대에서의 권력의 변형에 연결시키는 것이다. 영토적 주권이라는 전통적 형태에서의 권력은 본질적으로 생살여탈의 권리(the right over life and death)로 정의된다. 그러나 이러한 권리는 무엇보다도 죽음 쪽에서 행사된다는 의미에서, 즉 죽일 권리의 보류로서 삶과 간접적으로만 관련된다는 의미에서 정의상 비대칭적이다. 이 때문에 푸코는 죽게 만들면서 살게 내버려둔다to make die and to let live는 정식에 의해 주권을 특징짓는다. 17세기와 경찰학[치안통치의 학]의 탄생과 더불어, 신민들의 생명과 건강에 대한 배려[돌봄]가 국가들의 메커니즘과 계산에서 점점 더 중요한 자리를 차지하기 시작하자, 주권적 권력은 푸코가 '생권력'bio-pouvoir이라고 부른 것으로 점진적으로 변형된다. 죽게 만들면서 살게 내버려둔다to kill and to let live는 고대의 권리는, 근대의 생정치biopolitique를 정의하는 것이자 살게 만들고 죽게 내버려 둔다to make and to let live는 정식에 의해 [83쪽] 표현될 수 있는 정반대의 모델을 낳는다[정반대의 모델에 그 자리를 물려준다]. "주권의 법권리droit에 있어서 죽음은 주권자[군주]의 절대권력이 가장 빛을 발하던 지점이었던 반면에, 이제는 그와 반대로 죽음은 개인이 권력으로부터 빠져나가 자기 자신에게 되돌아가고, 이른바 자신이 가장 사적인 부분에 갇히는 순간이 됩니다."(Foucaut 1997: 221/푸코, ["사회를 보호해야 한다"], 김상운 옮김, 난장, 근간 ; 박정자 옮김, 동문선, "과거에 죽음이 군주의 절대권을 떠들썩하게 과시하는 계기였다면, 이제 죽음은 한 개인이 모든 권력에서 벗어나 자기 자신으로 떨어져 가장 사적인 존재로 웅크리고 있는 순간이 되었다."] 이리하여 죽음은 점차 격하disqualification되어 간다. 죽음은 개인과 가족뿐만 아니라 어떤 의미에서는 전체 사람들이 참여하는 공적인 제식rite의 성격을 상실하게 된다. 그리하여 죽음은 이제 감추어진 어떤 것, 일종의 사적인 부끄러움으로 변형된다.
두 개의 권력 모델들이 충돌하는 지점은 바로 [스페인의 총독] 프랑코의 죽음이다. 여기에서 우리 시대에서 가장 오랜 기간 동안 고대의 생살여탈의 주권적 권리를 체현했던 자[프랑코]는 새로운 의료적, 생정치적 권력의 수중으로 떨어진다. 생정치적 권력은 "인간을 살게 만드는데" 잘 성공할 수 있을 뿐만 아니라, 심지어 그들이 죽은 후에도 그들을 살게 만들 수 있다. 그렇지만 푸코에게 이 두 권력들은, 독재자의 신체에서는 일시적으로 구별할 수 없는 듯이 보이지만, 본질적으로는 여전히 이질적인 채로 남아 있다. 이 둘의 구별[차이]은 근대의 여명기에서, 하나의 체제에서 다른 체제로의 이행을 정의하는 일련의 개념적 대립들(개별 신체/인구[주민], 규율/조절메커니즘, 인간-신체man-body/인간-종들)을 산출한다. 당연히 푸코는 이 두 권력들과 테크닉들이 어떤 경우들에서는 서로의 내부로 통합될 수 있음을 완벽히 알고 있다. 그렇지만 이것들은 개념적으로는 여전히 구별된 채로 있다. 그렇지만 바로 이러한 이질성은 우리 시대의 강력한 전체주의 국가들, 특히 나치 국가에 대한 분석과 대결하는 것이 문제로 되자마자, 문제적problematic이게 된다. 히틀러의 독일에서는, 살게 만드는 생권력의 전례 없는 절대화가 죽게 만드는 주권권력의 마찬가지로 절대적인 일반화[전면화]와 교차하며, 따라서 생정치는 죽음정치와 즉각[직접적으로, 무매개적으로] 일치한다. 푸코의 관점에서 볼 때, 이러한 일치는 진정한 역설을 재현하는데, [84쪽] 이 역설은 모든 역설들이 그러하듯이, 설명을 요구한다. 본질적으로는 살게 만드는 것을 그 목표로 하는 권력이 어떻게 무조건적 죽음의 권력을 실행하는 것이, 어떻게 가능한가?
푸코가 1976년 콜레주 드 프랑스 강의에서 이 물음에 대해 제시한 답변은, 인종주의란 바로 생권력이 인간-종(human species)이라는 생물학적 연속체에 단절(caesura)을 표시하게끔 해주는 것이며, 그렇게 함으로써 '살게 만드는' 체제 속에 전쟁의 원리를 재도입한다는 것이다. "인간-종이라는 생물학적 연속체에서 인종의 등장과 구별, 위계질서의 설정, 즉 어떤 인종은 우등하다고 간주되고 어떤 인종은 반대로 열등하다고 간주되는 것은, 권력이 그것에 대한 배려에 착수했던 생물학적 영역을 단편화하는 방식입니다. 이것들은 인구의 내부에서 상이한 집단들을 서로 갈라놓는[구별하는] 방식입니다. 요컨대 바로 생물학적 영역으로 스스로를 정의하는 어떤 영역 내부에서 생물학적인 유형의 단절을 수행하는 것입니다."(p. 227; 박정자 옮김 : "인간이라는 종류의 생물학적 연속체 안에 여러 인종들이 나타나고, 인종들을 구별하며, 등급을 매기고, 좋은 인종과 열등한 인종으로 규정하는 이 모든 것은 권력이 떠맡은 생물학적 영역을 조각내는 방법인 것이다. 다시 말해서 한 인구 안의 여러 집단들을 서로 어긋나게 만드는 것이다. 한마디로 생물학적 영역 내붕 역시 생물학적인 휴지(休止)를 도입하는 것이다.")
푸코의 분석을 더 발전시켜 보자. 생정치의 영역을 분할하는 근본적 단절은 인민popolo과 인구popolazione 사이의 단절이다. 이 단절은 인민의 한 가운데에서 인구[주민]을 밝게 드러내는 것[출현시키는 것]에, 즉 본질적으로 정치적인 신체를 본질적으로 생물학적인 신체로 변형시키는 것으로 이루어져 있다. 그리하여 이런 생물학적 신체의 충산과 사망, 건강과 질병이 규제되어야만 한다. 생권력의 탄생과 더불어 모든 인민은 인구[주민]에 의해 이중화된다[인구라는 분신을 낳는다]. 즉, 모든 민주주의적인democratic 인민은 동시에 인구통계학적인demographic 인민인 것이다. 나치의 제국에서, [독일 민족의 유전적 건강의 보호]에 관한 1933년의 법률은 바로 이러한 단절을 완벽하게 표시한다. 곧바로 뒤따라나온 단절은 모든 시민이라는 집합 속에서, "아리아 혈통"의 시민들을 "비-아리아 혈통"의 시민과 구별하는 것이다. 나아가 이어진 단절은 "비-아리아 혈통"의 시민들의 집합 속에서 순혈의 유대인(Volljuden)을 혼혈(Mischlinge : 조부모 중에서 한 명만 유대인인 자, 또는 조부모 모두 유대인이지만 아버지가 유대인이 아니고 1935년 9월 15일 현재 유대인 배우자가 없는 자)로부터 분리하면서 "비-아리아 혈통"의 시민 집합을 관통한다. 생정치적 단절은 본질적으로 이동적mobile이며, 생물학적 연속체 속에서  [85쪽] 개별 사례마다 더 나아간 지대를 분리한다. 이러한 지대는 점증하는 품위[존엄성]박탈(Entwürdignung)과 영락의 과정에 대응한다. 이렇게 하여 비-아리아인은 유대인으로 이행하며, 유대인은 강제이주자(umgesiedelt, ausgesiedelt)로 이행하며, 강제이주자는 수감자(Häftling)로 이행하며, 생정치적 단절은 마침내 수용소에서 그 최후의 한계에 이른다. 이 한계가 무젤만이다. 수감자가 무젤만으로 되는 지점에, 인종주의적 생정치는 이른바 인종을 초월하며, 더 이상 단절을 수립하는 것이 가능하지 않는 어떤 문턱으로 진입한다. 여기에서 인민과 인구 사이의 동요하는 연결은 마침내 깨지며, 우리는 어떤 특수한 담지자나 주체에 할당될 수 없는, 혹은 또 다른 단절에 의해 분할될 수 없는 절대적인 생정치적 실체와 같은 어떤 것이 출현함을 목격하게 된다.
그러므로 이제 나치의 생정치 체제에서 수용소의 결정적 역할을 이해하는 것이 가능하다. 수용소는 죽음과 절멸의 장소일 뿐만 아니라, 무젤만을 생산하는 자리, 즉 생물학적 연속체 속에 분리될 수 있는 궁극의 생정치적 실체를 생산하는 자리이다. 무젤만을 넘어서면 오로지 가스실만이 있다[무젤만의 맞은 편에 있는 것은 오직 가스실뿐이다].
1937년 비밀회의 동안에, 히틀러는 극단적인 생정치적 개념을 처음으로 정식화한다. 이것은 잘 고찰할 값어치가 있다. 히틀러는 중부 유럽과 동부 유럽에 대해 언급하면서 volkloser Raum, 민족 없는 공간(a spcae empty of people)이 필요하다고 주장한다. 우리는 이 특이한/기묘한singular 표현을 어떻게 이해해야 하는가? 그것은 단순한 황무지와 같은 것, 거주자가 없는 지리적 공간이 아니다. (그가 언급했던 지역은 여러 인민들peoples이나 국민들nationalities로 가득 차populate 있다.) 히틀러의 "민족 없는 공간peopleless space"은 오히려 근본적인 생정치적 강렬도를 가리키는 것으로, 이 강렬도는 모든 공간 속에 존속될 수 있으며, 이 강렬도를 통해 인민들은 주민들로 이행하고 주민들은 무젤만들로 이행한다. 달리 말하면 volkloser Raum은 수용소의 내연동력driving force을 가리키는 것으로, 이것은 어떤 결정적인/명확한determinate [86쪽] 지리적 공간으로 일단 파악되면, 그 지리적 공간을 절대적인 생정치적 공간으로, 즉 인간의 삶이 모든 배정가능한 생정치적 정체성[동일성]을 초월하게 되는 삶의 공간이자 죽음의 공간Lebensraum und Todesraum으로 변형시켜 버리는 생정치적 기계로 이해된다. 바로 이 지점에서 죽음은 단순한 부수현상일 뿐이다.(끝)
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20세기를 해석하기 : 전체주의인가 생명정치인가?

Interpreting the 20th century: totalitarianism or biopolitics?

Text Roberto Esposito Philospher

20th C 3

© Prisma

02th C 2

© Prisma

인간의 생명은 공적인 것과 사적인 것, 자연적인 것과 인위적인 것, 신학적인 것과 정치적인 것을 뒤얽어버리며, 다수성의 어떠한 결정도 끄를 수 없는 방식으로 이것들을 칭칭 동여맨다. 권력 메커니즘에서 생명의 반란은 민주주의의 쇠퇴의 신호탄이며, 적어도 우리가 지금껏 상상했던 민주주의의 그런 형태의 쇠퇴의 신호탄이다.
Human life interweaves the public with the private, the natural with the artificial, the theological with the political, binding them together in such a way that no decision of the majority can undo. The insurrection of life in the mechanisms of power signals the eclipse of democracy, at least of that form of democracy we had imagined up until now.

1. 20세기에 관한 정치적 해석을 향하여. '해석하다'란 무슨 뜻인가? 우리는 이 말에 어떤 유의미성을 부여해야 하는가? 두 개의 상이한 방식, 그리고 어떤 의미에서는 서로 대립된 방식으로 답변할 수 있다. 첫 번째는 고전적 해법이다. 즉 이것은 철학 자체가 제공한 해석적 열쇠와 일치하여 역사적 사실을 독해하는 것으로 이뤄진다. 이것이 20세기의 위대한 철학자들의 실천이었다. 가장 기념비적인 사람들만 이름을 꼽아도 후설, 하이데거, 사르트르 등이 있다. 이것은 역사의 본질을 이해하는 유일한 방식으로 간주되어 왔다. 즉, 이것을 후설은 유럽 학문의 위기와 동일시했고, 하이데거는 니힐리즘의 전개와 동일시했으며, 사르트르는 억압된 인민의 해방과 동일시했다.
1. Towards a political interpretation of the 20th century. What does ‘interpret' mean? What significance should we give it? It is possible to respond in two different, and in some sense opposed ways. The first is the classical solution: this consists of reading historical facts in accordance with an interpretative key provided by philosophy itself. Such was the practice of the great philosophers of the 20th century, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, to name only the most celebrated. This was considered to be the only way to understand the essence of history: that which Husserl identified with the crisis of European science, Heidegger with the development of Nihilism and Sartre with the liberation of the oppressed peoples.

어떤 경우든 20세기는 이것에 어떤 의미를 부여하기 위해서, 사건들이 단 하나의 방향으로 전개한 그러한 방식으로 사건들의 순서를 나열하기 위해서 이미 결정된 어떤 철학의 내적 요구에 따라 해석되었다. 그러므로 철학과 역사 사이에 외적인, 그리고 어떤 의미에서는 부과적인 관계가 수립되었다. 철학이 없었더라면 무의미하게 보였을 수도 있는 일련의 사건들에 대해 오로지 철학만이 전반적인 유의미성을 부여할 수 있는 유능한 것으로 치부되었다.
      In any case, the 20th century was interpreted according to the internal demands of a philosophy that was determined to confer on it a sense, and to order events in such a way that they advanced in a single direction. Thus, between philosophy and history an external, and in some sense impositional, relationship was established. Only philosophy was deemed competent to attribute an overall significance to a series of events that would otherwise appear meaningless.

획기적인 분석을 산출했던 이 첫 번째 반응은 이 논리를 억누르거나 무효로 만든 또 다른 반응에 의해서 의문시되거나 논박된다. 이 두번째 반응은 철학과 역사 사이에 상이한 기능적 관계를 수립한다. 이것은 더 이상 역사적 동학을 사유의 이성에 종속시키는 걸 목표로 삼지 않으며, 오히려 어떤 사건들에서 그 자체로 철학적인 요소나 특징들을 발견하는 걸 목표로 삼는다. 그러므로 사건들의 의미는 더 이상 관찰자의 세계관에 따라서, 또는 이들의 철학적 관점에 일치하여 외부로부터 부과되는 것이 아니며, 오히려 이 의미는 사건들 자체로부터 흘러나오는 것처럼 보이거나 사건들을 통해서 스스로를 수립하는 것처럼 보인다. -- 사건들의 새로움, 범위, 또는 효과 때문에. 어쩌면 관점에 있어서의 이러한 변화는 또한 하이데거에서 비트겐슈타인에 이르는 위대한 20세기 촐학자들이, 코제브의 말을 빌리면 한편으로는 '철학의 종언'이라고 서술한 것과 다른 한편으로는 '역사의 종언'이라고 서술한 것에 상응한다. 진정으로 종언에 이르렀던 것은 역사를 철학적 실행의 대상으로서 관찰/고찰하는 방식이었다.
      This first response, which produced epoch-making analyses, is questioned or contested by another which suppresses or revokes its logic. This second response establishes a different functional relationship between philosophy and history, no longer one that aims to subordinate the historical dynamic to the reason of thought, but rather to discover in certain events, elements or characteristics which are in themselves philosophical. Thus, the sense of events is no longer imposed from the outside, according to the point of view, or in accordance with the philosophical perspective of the observer, but rather that this sense appears to flow from the events themselves, or establish itself through them - because of their novelty, scope, or effect. Perhaps this change in viewpoint also corresponds with what the great 20th century philosophers, from Heidegger to Wittgenstein, but taking in Kojève, described as the "end of philosophy", on the one hand, and the "end of history" on the other. What truly did come to an end was a way of observing history as an object of philosophical exercise. One might say that from then on history has no longer been the object of philosophy but rather its subject. In the same way that philosophy ceased to determine the form of history and became instead its content. If we accept that the events of our present are in themselves charged with a certain philosophical weight, then the objective of reflection will no longer consist of attributing to history a sense that matches hypotheses and historical developments, but rather in confronting the significance that was present in the events from the very moment of their inception. But this, be careful, should not be taken to mean that history is provided with a single pre-existing meaning, for this was precisely the pretension of all philosophies of history, no matter whether they were progressive or regressive, ascendant or descendant. Rather, just the opposite, this meaning is that which results from the confrontation and conflict between numerous high density vectors that are in competition with each other. The events with the greatest significance, for example the attack on the Twin Towers, are precisely those that suddenly demolish prior significance, and in an unforeseen way open up a new source of signification. In this radical way the expression that postulates that contemporary history is eminently philosophical becomes comprehensible. I do not mean that history can only be understood in its essence from a philosophical viewpoint and not from other more reductionist ones, such as economics, sociology or political sciences, as Augusto Del Noce sustained  in a precocious and neglected work (A. Del Noce, 1982), but rather that the decisive events, world wars, technological advances, globalisation, terrorism..., are philosophical powers that are struggling to take and dominate the world; that are competing to become the dominant interpretation, that is, the definitive significance. Thus, even more than oil, weapons, or democracy, what is at stake in the present conflict is the metaphysical desire to define the sense of contemporary history.

 
Two interpretative models
2. I shall try to relate these two styles of understanding contemporary history - that which corresponds to the more traditional philosophy of history and that of history as philosophy - with two hermeneutic paradigms which are quite confused and overlapping, and yet end up being radically alternative, in opposition to each other in terms both of their hypotheses and their effects. The two paradigms are totalitarianism and biopolitics. Despite the attempts to bring them together in a framework that makes each the continuation or confirmation of the other, whether it be in the form of a biopolitical totalitarianism or totalitarian biopolitics, they are in fact interpretative models that diverge in terms of logic, and furthermore, are destined to be mutually exclusive, because at heart, even more so than in terms of particular contents, they oppose each other in terms of their postulates regarding the relation between philosophy and history, and in the way in which they conceive the history of and in terms of philosophy.

      In a totalitarian category graphic representation (axis of coordinates), history is inscribed throughout the chronological cycle, though the latter is fractured by a fundamental division between two options, the democratic and the totalitarian. These two succeed or replace each other, alternating over time. The long period of liberal democratic development, during the middle of the last century, was succeeded by another which was totalitarian, in both the west and the east. These were then overcome in two continuations, in 1945 and in 1989 respectively, leading to the victory of the liberal democratic model, which currently holds sway throughout the west. The result is a double historico-philosophical configuration. Modern history, then, is laid out along a single vertical line, at first, ascendant and progressive, and then, from the 1920s onwards, regressive and declining, and finally, in the second half of the century, once more reverting to, or being redirected in, the right direction. This despite the fact that risks of involution are currently appearing, above all in the Islamic world. Yet while the vertical axis is fractured, on the horizontal there appears a profound homogeneity of forms, contents, languages, that seem very different not only from Nazism and Communism, overlapping in a single conceptual block, but also from those of liberalism and democracy, meeting, without too many problems, the demands of a philosophy of history more inclined to assimilation than to differentiation. In fact, in order for the totalitarian paradigm to be attributed to a fairly traditional philosophy of history, constant and contradictory recourse is taken to the category of ‘origin'. It is no coincidence that this word appears in the titles of two of the most important texts: The Origins of Totalitarianism by Arendt (H. Arendt, 1951) and The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy by Talmon (J. L. Talmon, 1952). Note the evident sign of the inherence of this category, ‘totalitarianism', which is claimed to be new, in a highly classical philosophical framework. In all the philosophical essays on totalitarianism, the gaze of the observer searches for the origin, and ends up absorbed in his or her investigation: Where does it come from? What engendered it? What is the seed of all that 20th century totalitarianism has brought to the world?

      In this interrogation about its origins appears the first antinomy of the paradigm as a whole: how to discover the genesis of the totalitarian phenomenon, declared unassimilable to all other forms of government, as Hannah Arendt does, and thus, as a consequence, alien to any genetic sequence of a causal nature? Why search for the origin of something that appears to have no origin? How is it possible to reconcile the discontinuity in principle - the absolute novelty of the totalitarian event - and the continuity in fact, its provenance from an origin?

       There are two possible strategies for responding, and both are typical of the historicist model. The first is that adopted by H. Arendt, which traces the entire western political tradition back to an original loss, that of the Greek polis. In Arendt's theory, this loss produces, in the following period, a depoliticisation that converges into the anti-political deviation of totalitarian domination. The totalitarianism of the 20th century, understood as a dynamic and as a logic that in itself was unitary, ends up appearing to be a result that although not a priori inexorable, did in fact become inevitable when certain conditions or circumstances concurred, in a logic similar to that which leads to modernity as a whole. It is true that for H. Arendt, between the two segments involved there is always an unforeseen acceleration that differentiates those who are connoted, situated on a single line of development, to be hurled in the end into the abysm of Auschwitz and Kolyma. She also sustains, clumsily, that it was Hobbes who "provided political thought with the hypotheses underlying all racial theories" (H. Arendt, 1951).

      On the other hand the path trod by Talmon, and later, though in another way, by François Furet (F. Furet, 1997), is that of searching for the origin of totalitarianism within the democratic tradition itself, which it must oppose. Here totalitarianism is characterised as an illness whose origins lie not in Hobbes or Rousseau, but in the decisive event connoting modernity: the French Revolution. In this way, the paradigm in question ends up locked in a second antinomy, no less important than the first: while the reference to the French Revolution, that is, the most radical experiment in political democratisation, might be valid in terms of explaining communism, how can it also explain Nazism?

      A difficulty, a logical flaw, which not even H. Arendt's great essay can avoid.  This work is divided into two parts: the first, a masterly genealogical reconstruction of Nazi anti-Semitism that goes back to the war years, and the second where she compares Nazism with Stalinist communism, a poorer part, and doubtless influenced by the atmosphere of the incipient Cold War. The reason for this deformity, perhaps related with the closed nature of the Soviet archives, concerns the critical point of the interpretative model as a whole: the difficulty of finding the roots of Soviet communism in the same deviation of a degenerate critical process that transformed the nation-state into colonial imperialism, to the point of the explosion of biological racism that led to Nazism. How to include in one framework, in a single horizon of categories, a hyper-natural conception, like that of the Nazis, with the historicist paroxysm of communism?

      What is the connection, from a philosophical point of view, between a theory of absolute equality - which communism is, at least in principle - and a theory, and even more, a practice of absolute difference, like Nazism?

      A monochrome vision seems to prevail of a single vertical opposition between the period of democracy and the period of totalitarianism regarding the great caesurae, logical categorical and linguistic, that fractured modern history, in which the paradigm of totalitarianism is portrayed as a difficult period of inscrutable complexity. It is not by chance, but precisely because of this logical and historical difficulty, that Arendt's work continues to be a great book about Nazism, just as those of Aron, Talmon and Furet are only books about communism. The reason for the choice - in reality, the necessity - that excludes from the discourse the other pole of the paradigm, as identified by Aron in his essay Democracy and Totalitarianism, is the fact that the interpreter is only interested in those regimes that declare themselves democratic when, on the contrary, they tend to end up being perverse deviations from democracy (R. Aron, 1969). Both Talmon and Furet, though also Gauchet (M. Gauchet, 1976) and Lefort (C. Lefort, 1981), validate this thesis of Aron's: the totalitarianism of the left grows out of a diseased rib of democracy, and not from anything external to it. Further, the totalitarian regime does not come out of a deficit but rather from its opposite, from an excess, from an overabundance of democracy -from a democracy that is so radical, extreme, and absolute, so full of egalitarian substance, that it breaks its own formal limits and implodes, transmuting into its own opposite. Communism, suggests Gauchet, is instituted through a perverse inversion of the democratic model, whose traits it deforms in a ghostly way, but always from the inside, from within the assumptions of the democratic model. There the utopian dream meets the demon of a possessed democracy and they blend in a confused mishmash. At this point, the chain of aporiae of the paradigm of totalitarianism is evident. If communism is not only located within the conceptual horizon of democracy inherited from the French Revolution, but in addition, in some sense takes this to its extreme and only in this way to its dissolution; if it is connected to this revolution in its genesis and in its egalitarian excess, how can the distinction between totalitarianism and democracy, on which the whole of the discourse is built, be sustained? It is possible in the same way that totalitarianism has proved itself capable of transforming itself into the opposite of that which gave birth to it. Secondly, if such an antinomic relation with democracy might be valid for communism, it is not, of course, valid for Nazism, which in a coherent way has been excluded from the analytical schema by all these authors. But in this case, it sits less easily with the very logical consistency of the category of totalitarianism. Already shaky in a historical sense, it also collapses in terms of the philosophical hypotheses from which it appeared to draw its final guarantee.

 
Starting from concrete events
3. Unlike that of totalitarianism, the biopolitical paradigm does not take as its starting point a philosophical hypothesis, of whatever kind of philosophy of history, but rather the concrete events themselves, and not only the facts, but also the effective languages that make them comprehensible. Even more than the analysis of Foucault (cf. M. Foucault, 2008) and the genealogy of Nietzsche, and in particular the latter's deconstruction of the concept of origin - that origin which the theoreticians of totalitarianism were still searching for - it is necessary to change the point of view in order to find a perspective that suits this new way of looking. If there is no unequivocal origin of the historical process, if the latter is not unique, because it duplicates or multiplies itself into many, in such a way that these can no longer be defined as such, as Nietzsche explains in radical contrast with all the forms of philosophical historicism, in such a case, then the historical events of the west will clearly not be reducible to the linearity of the single perspective. The entire interpretation of modernity is then profoundly altered. And as a consequence, all possibilities of a unified reading, of whatever kind, vanish to be replaced by an image divided by horizontal and vertical fault lines that break all postulated continuums. In addition, that reading which in the preceding paradigm was configured as a simple fact - like acquired knowledge - of the singular language of politics, now becomes dilated into a much broader relationship, the result of the meeting, the failure to meet, or the mere juxtaposition, with the lexicons of other disciplines that interact and contaminate each other creating novel effects. The bursting of biological life onto the scene, rather than predisposing modern philosophy as a whole to a single depoliticising deviation - as in Arendt's model - decomposes the scene, reordering it in accordance with different vectors of sense that accumulate or affect each other but without becoming confused or unified into a single direction of flow. The strength of the biopolitical perspective resides, in fact, in its capacity to read this trap and this conflict, this deviation and this implication; the powerfully antinomic result of the cross-fertilisation of languages, such as the political and the biological, which are heterogeneous in their origins. What happens when an ‘outsider', life, bursts into the political sphere shattering its supposed autonomy, displacing the discourse to a terrain that refuses to yield to the traditional terms - democracy, power, ideology - of modern political philosophy?

      The phenomenon of Nazism is situated in this framework, where its radical heterogeneity can also be studied. Without drawing on more recent interpretations, Ernst Nolte, whom no-one can suspect of having leftist sympathies, characterised the theoretical fallacy of situating on the same lexical plane an ideology like communism - in truth, catastrophic in terms of its political consequences - and something like Nazism, which of course cannot in any way be placed in the same category (E. Nolte, 1987). In contrast to what H. Arendt thought, Nazism is not an ‘ideology', because it belongs to a lower dimension and one that is different from those which contain ‘ideas', whence, on the other hand, Marxist communism sprang. Nazism is not a different species within one family, that of the totalitarian, because it lies outside the western tradition, which does however include, like an outlying spur, the philosophy of communism. In contrast to these traditions, unified despite their internal differences by a shared reference to a transcendent universal idea, Nazism elaborates a radically different conception that has no need of legitimating itself with an idea, whatever that idea might be, because its intrinsic foundation is in mere material force. This in its turn is not the product - contingent or necessary - of a history that defines relations between men on the basis of their freely taken decisions or, as the communist doctrine considers, of their social conditions, but rather as a fact that is absolutely natural which corresponds solely to the biological realm. Recognising in Nazism the attempt, the only one of its kind, to liberate the natural features of existence from their historical peculiarity, means overturning Arendt's thesis of the totalitarian juxtaposition of the philosophy of nature with that of history. And, even more so, it means identifying the notion of its unassimilable character as a dead end, and therefore, the philosophical impracticability of the notion of totalitarianism.

      The 20th century, examined from a biopolitical point of view, offers a vision of the complete course of modernity, not determined nor decided by the superficial and contradictory antithesis between totalitarianism and democracy, but rather by that which is much more profound - in that it concerns the conservation of life - between history and nature, between the historicisation of nature and the naturalisation of history. Much more profound, I say, because it cannot refer to a symmetrical bipolarity, for the fact that this nature - understood, as Nazism did, in a biological sense - is not an anti-history, a philosophy or ideology that is opposed to that of history, but rather a non-philosophy and a non-ideology. Not a political philosophy but a political biology, a politics of life and about life, inverted into its opposite, and thus a producer of death. As Levinas wrote in the 1930s, in Nazism "the biological, with all the facility which that involves, becomes much more than an object of spiritual life, it is transformed into its very heart" (E. Levinas, 1996). And this element which is immediately bio, that is, Nazism's politics of death - and not the number of victims, which is smaller than that produced by Stalinist communism - is what makes the category of totalitarianism historically and theoretically unusable.

 
Intensification of the conflict
4. The implosion of the communist system, which brought the Cold War to an end, and the subsequent explosion of terrorism have given rise to the illusion of returning to the old political lexicon that existed prior to the so-called totalitarianisms. However, at present the biopolitical conflict appears to be growing even more intense. From this perspective, the end of World War II does not indicate, either in terms of language or in material practice, the victory of the alliance between democracy and communism, but rather that of a liberalism that forms part of the same biopolitical regime that, falling into its opposite, had given rise to Nazism. I mean that Nazism, in this sense much younger than communism, emerges from the war having been definitively defeated militarily and politically, but not completely in cultural and linguistic terms, since the centrality of the bios as object and subject of politics was reinforced, though metamorphosed into a liberal form, which means that appropriations and possible modifications of the body may be performed not only by the state but also by the individual who is the owner of him/herself. If for Nazism man is merely a body, and nothing more, for liberalism, from Locke onwards, man has his own body, which he possesses and may, therefore, use, transform, or sell as an inner slave. In this sense, liberalism - here I am referring to its conceptual categories - inverts the Nazi perspective, transferring ownership of the body from the state to the individual, but remains within the same biopolitical lexicon. The biopolitical nature of liberalism is precisely what differentiates it from democracy. With an exaggeration that is not wholly unjustified, we might say that the reason why after the so-called totalitarianisms it is not possible to return to democratic liberalism, resides in the fact that the latter has never existed as such. In the same way that we have deconstructed the assimilation of Nazism and communism into the category of totalitarianism, so with the same clarity we might question the notion of democratic liberalism. The ideology of liberalism, in its logic, hypothesis and conceptual language - particular, counter-egalitarian, and on occasions also naturalist - while not the negation of democracy, which tends to universality and egalitarianism, is very different from it, as Carl Schmitt pointed out in a great essay in the 1920s on parliamentarianism and democracy (C. Schmitt, 1923). If we adopt a representation of modernity that is not historicist, in other words, if we reject the idea of a chronological succession between demo-liberal and totalitarian regimes, in favour of a different representation, let's say, genealogic or topological, we see that the true fault line, the conceptually significant discrimination, is not the vertical between totalitarianism and demo-liberalism, but rather the horizontal and transversal, between democracy and communism on the one side - communism as the paroxysmic consummation of democratic egalitarianism - and biopolitics on the other. The latter is divided into two antithetical, though not unconnected, forms, Nazism and liberalism: biopolitics of the state and individual biopolitics.

      In addition, Foucault himself noted the biopolitical nature of liberalism (M. Foucault, 2008), situating it on the plane of governing life, and as such, opposed, or at least a stranger to the universalist procedures of democracy. Democracy, at least that form which proclaimed itself as such, founded on the primacy of abstract laws and the equality of rights of individuals equipped with the powers of reason and free will, came to an end in the 1920s and ‘30s and can no longer be reconstructed, much less exported. If the democratic regime is reduced to merely the presence of more than one party in formal competition and the use of elections to form governing majorities, then such a system can always sustain itself, as has happened recently, with the steady increase in the number of formal democracies in the world. But in this way we lose sight of the radical transformation that has been wrought on democracy, dragging it into a semantic orbit that is proof against all that the concept of democracy itself presupposes. Note: in sustaining this thesis I am not referring to the dysfunctions, defects, limits, or contradictions that are implicit in all political forms of government, necessarily imperfect and incomplete. Rather I am alluding to a profound upheaval within the democratic horizon itself. This can be seen immediately when we shift from the formal to the material plane of the current political regimes. It is true that democracy as such has no ‘contents': it is a technique, a series of norms that set out to distribute power in a way that is proportional to the wishes of the electorate. But it is precisely for this reason that it explodes or implodes when filled with a substance that it cannot contain without transforming itself into a radically different thing.

      It is biological life, both individual and of the population at large, that occupies centre-stage in all significant political decisions. This does not mean that in the confrontation between political forces other options are not being debated regarding international relations, internal order, the model of economic development, definitions of civil rights... However, the explosive element in terms of the traditional democratic framework, consists of the fact that all these options refer, with no mediation whatsoever, to the body of the citizens.

      If we consider that in our own country the proposals that have generated most interest amongst the public are those related to the prohibition of smoking, drug use, road safety, immigration, or artificial insemination, we can appreciate the extent and also the direction of this change of paradigm: the health care model has become not only the privileged object of politics but even the very form of political life; and in addition, of a type of politics whose sole possible source of legitimisation is life. And the only things that move citizens to intervene, or that at least interest them, are matters relating to conservation, the limits or the exclusion of the body itself. Yet here is the decisive point: at the moment in which the living, or dying, body becomes the symbolic and material epicentre of political dynamics and conflicts, we enter a dimension that is not ‘post-‘ or ‘beyond' democracy, as it is often described, but rather decidedly outside it; not only in its procedures but also in its language and conceptual structure. It is always a question of rebelling against a group of equalised subjects precisely for the fact of their being separated from the body itself, that is, considered as pure atoms of logic equipped with rational will. This element of abstraction or stripping bare of the body is echoed in the proposals that aim to set the person at the centre of democratic practice. In these proposals, the word ‘person', in accordance with its original scope, means a disembodied subjectivity, something that is different from the series of impulses, needs and desires brought together in the corporeal dimension (cf. R. Esposito, 2007). When, with the biopolitical change of direction highlighted here, even this corporeal dimension is transformed into a real interlocutor of the government, subject and object at the same time, the principle of equality is called into question, inapplicable as it is to something like bodies, where each is necessarily different from all others, according to criteria that are redefined and modified from time to time. But apart from the principle of equality, a whole series of differences or oppositions are also questioned which are even more fundamental to democracy, the entire political conception of modernity, as well as everything this generates in terms of the public, the private, the cultural and the natural, the juridical, the theological...

      At the moment that the body substitutes or "fills" the abstract subjectivity of the legal recognised person, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate what is of the public realm and what is private. And more generally, what belongs to the natural order and what depends on technical intervention, with all the ethical and religious implications the latter brings in its train.

      The reason for this imprecision, and the incorrigible nuisances it occasions, is that human life interweaves the public with the private, the natural with the artificial, the theological with the political, binding them together in such a way that no majority decision can undo. Hence, its centrality is not compatible with the conceptual lexicon of democracy. Contrary to what we might imagine, the insurrection of life into the mechanisms of power signals the eclipse of democracy, at least of that type of democracy we have been able to imagine to date. This does not mean that it is impossible to imagine another type, compatible with the irreversible emergence of biopolitics now underway. But where to look, and how to conceive what a biopolitical democracy or democratic biopolitics might mean today, one capable of working, if not through bodies, at least in favour of them? It is difficult to recommend a defined model. For the moment it is only possible to glimpse it. What is true is that to activate a current of thought in such a direction, it is necessary to divest ourselves of all the old philosophies of history and of all the conceptual paradigms that constantly drag us back to them.


Works cited

H. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism; 1951, Pub. Schocken.

R. Aron, Democracy and Totalitarianism: A Theory of Political Regimes; 1969, Pub. Praeger

A. Del Noce, L'interpretazione transpolitica della storia contemporanea; 1982, Naples, Pub. Guida.

R. Esposito, Terza persona. Politica della vita e filosofia dell'impersonale; 2007, Pub. Einaudi

M. Foucault, Security, Territory and Population; 2007, Pub. Palgrave Macmillan

M. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics; 2008, Pub. Palgrave Macmillan

F. Furet, The History of an Illusion; 1997 Pub. The Free Press

M. Gauchet, L'experiénce totalitaire et la pensée de la politique; 1976, in the Journal  "Esprit", Nºs 7 and 8.

C. Lefort, L'invention démocratique. Les limites de la domination totalitaire; 1981,  Paris, Pub.  Fayard.

E. Levinas, Reflections on the Philosophy of Hitlerism; 1990 Critical Inquiry, Vol. 17. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press

E. Nolte, The European Civil War, 1917-1945: National Socialism and Bolshevism; 1987

C. Schmitt, Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus; 1923, Munich-Leipzig, Pub. Duncker & Humblot.

J. Talmon, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy; 1952, Pub. Secker and Warburg.


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ARTicles

December 28, 2008

Rene -- An interview with Roberto Esposito

Interesting to think about unfolding calamities in Gaza and elsewhere and the notion of immunity that has been investigated by Roberto Esposito. -rg

from diacritics 36.2 (2006) 49-56

Roberto Esposito
Timothy C. Campbell
Translated by Anna Paparcone

Abstract
In his first interview to appear in English, Esposito answers a number of questions as they relate to his elaboration of an affirmative biopolitics. He suggests where his own understanding of biopolitics converges and diverges with other contemporary Italian thinkers working on biopolitics, namely Giorgio Agamben and Antonio Negri, and then offers a concise summary of his own work on immunity, especially as it emerges in his Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy. He concludes the interview with a series of reflections on the meaning of death and birth for Nazism in light of its perverted concept of biopolitics.>

Timothy Campbell: The theme of biopolitics figures prominently in contemporary thought originating in Italy, especially in the work of Giorgio Agamben, Toni Negri, and your own. What do you think accounts for this recurring interest in bios and politics in Italy, and what distinguishes your discussion of biopolitics from both Agamben's and Negri's?

Roberto Esposito: It's true that Italy, perhaps more than any other country, is the place in which Foucault's reflections on biopolitics, which were left interrupted at the end of the 1970s, have been extended with more breadth and originality (without of course overlooking the important contributions Agnes Heller and Donna Haraway have made). Why? We might begin by observing that Italy is a country on the frontier, not only in a geographic sense, but also culturally, between different worlds, between Europe and the Mediterranean, and between North and South, with all of the richness and contradictions that come with that position. Italy is traversed but also in a certain sense constituted by this fracture, that is, by this sociocultural interval. Perhaps the sensibility to a theme such as biopolitics may be linked to this liminal condition of the border, for biopolitics is also situated at the intersection between apparently different languages such as those of politics and life, of law and of anthropology.

But another observation needs to made, one that touches on something deeper vis-à-vis the long-standing history and vocation of the Italian philosophical tradition. That tradition has always been eminently concerned with the political. If we think only of those Italian authors who are known internationally—from Machiavelli to Vico, to Croce, and to Gramsci—we can say that all of their reflections are placed at the point of encounter and tension between history and politics. Unlike the Anglo-Saxon analytic tradition or, for that matter, German hermeneutics and French deconstruction, the continual problem for Italian philosophy has been thinking the relationship with the present day [contemporaneità], what Foucault would have called "the ontology of actuality," which is to say, an interrogation of the present interpreted in a mostly political key. Thinking especially of Vico or differently of Gramsci, we can say that history and politics have constituted the obligatory point of transition from which and through which the dimension of thought generally has been constituted in Italy.

In addition to a prevailing interest in Italy in political history—or better, in history insofar as it is constituted politically—we ought to add another interest in the horizon of life that is just as strong and original. Authors such as Bruno and Campanella, for example, worked within such a problematic, in a form that often appears to anticipate Spinoza and his diverging position toward the mechanistic and artificial (antinaturalist) direction that modern philosophy follows beginning with Descartes and Hobbes. It is in opposition to the latter (or at least differently from them) that the philosophical reflection developed in the second Italian Renaissance is to be understood. Such a reflection moves in the direction of a comingling of history and nature, between the life of a human being and the life of the world. Perhaps this difference vis-à-vis modern philosophy also plays a role in the [End Page 49] current attention Italian philosophy pays to biopolitics.

As to the relation between my perspective on biopolitics and that of Negri and Agamben, I would say that it is situated not in a median point between them, but is external or indeed nonconcentric to them. Of course a common element is shared by all: for each of us research in biopolitics begins from the point when Foucault's work was interrupted, in the sense that all our investigations attempt to respond to the underlying question with which Foucault ended: what is the nature and meaning of biopolitics? Are we to understand it as a process that is substantially positive, innovative, and productive, or rather as something negative, as a lethal retreat from life? Leaving aside other questions about philosophic language, or the principal assumptions that characterize our different research interests, it seems to me that the difference between Agamben, Negri, and myself will be found in the response to this particular question. Where Agamben accentuates the negative, even tragic tonality of the biopolitical phenomenon in a strongly dehistoricizing modality—one that pays tribute to Heidegger, Schmitt, and Benjamin—Negri, on the contrary, insists on the productive, expansive, or more precisely vital element of the biopolitical dynamic. The reference is explicitly to the line that joins Spinoza to Marx and to Deleuze. Indeed, Negri imagines that biopolitics can contribute to the reconstruction of a revolutionary horizon in the heart of empire, and in so doing, he absolutely accentuates the moment of resistance to power, in opposition to the letter of the Foucauldian text. For my own part, I don't radicalize one of the two semantic polarities of biopolitics to the detriment of the other. Instead I have tried to move the terms of the debate by providing a different interpretive key that is capable of reading them together, while accounting for the antinomical relation between them. All done without renouncing the historical dimension, as Agamben does, and without immediately collapsing the philosophical prospective into a political one, as Negri does. As you know, this hermeneutic key, this different paradigm, is that of immunity.

Campbell: Much of your recent work is dedicated to what you call the immunitary paradigm. Indeed, in your previous works, Communitas, then Immunitas, and now Bios, you read modern political, juridical, and aesthetic categories as essentially marking an attempt to immunize the social body from the dangers of a communal munus. Could you describe in more detail the features of communitas and the kind of relation you're drawing between it and a new form of bios thought outside of the immunitary paradigm?

Esposito: As we know, in biomedical language immunity is understood as a form of exemption [esenzione] or protection in relation to a disease. In juridical language immunity represents a sort of safeguard that places the one who holds it in a condition of untouchability vis-à-vis common law. In both cases, therefore, immunity or immunization alludes to a particular situation that protects [mette in salvo] someone from a risk, a risk to which an entire community is exposed. You can already see the opposition between community and immunity that is the basis of my most recent work. Without wanting to enter too deeply into the merits of complex etymological questions, let's say simply that immunity—or, using its Latin formulation, immunitas—emerges as the contrary or the reverse [rovescio] of communitas. Both words originally derive from the term munus, which in Latin signifies "gift," "office," and "obligation." But the one, communitas, has a positive connotation, while the other, immunitas, is negative. This is why, if the members of a community are characterized by an obligation of gift-giving thanks to the law of the gift and of the care to be exercised toward the other, immunity implies the exemption from or the derogation of such a condition of gift-giving. He is immune who is safe from obligations or dangers that concern everyone else, from the moment that giving something in and of itself implies a diminishment of one's own goods and in the ultimate analysis also [End Page 50] of oneself.

At this point my underlying theses are essentially two. The first is that this immunitary dispositif, that is, this demand for exemption or protection, which originally was only awarded the medical and juridical spheres, was over time extended to all those other sectors and languages of our life, until it becomes the coagulating point, both real and symbolic, of the entire contemporary experience. In my earlier work, Immunitas, I tried to trace the presence of the immunitary paradigm in theology, anthropology, and politics, as well as in law and medicine. Certainly this preoccupation with self-protection doesn't only belong to our own period. All societies, as well as all individuals, have been concerned with assuring their own survival with respect to the risk of environmental or interhuman contamination. But the threshold of knowledge when faced with the risk of contagion (and therefore the kind of response that is required) has been very different over the course of time, until it reaches its apex precisely in our own period.

Here, exactly, is grafted the second thesis: the idea that immunity, which is necessary to protect our life, when brought beyond a certain threshold, winds up negating it. It is for this reason that I subtitled Immunitas "the protection and the negation of life," though clearly one could also say "protection is the negation of life," in the sense that such a protection, when pushed beyond a certain limit, forces life into a sort of prison or armoring in which what we lose is not only freedom, but also the real sense of individual and collective existence. In other words, we lose that social circulation, which is to say that appearing of existence outside of itself that I choose to describe with the word communitas: the constitutively exposed character of existence. Here, then, is the contradiction that I tried to bring to light: what safeguards the individual and political body is also what impedes its development, and beyond a certain point risks destroying it. To use Benjamin's language, we could say that immunization at high doses entails the sacrifice of the living, that is, of every qualified form of life, motivated by simple survival: the reduction of life to its simple biological layer.

The other side of this antinomy, which is to say, the connection between the protection and the negation of life, is implicit in the medical procedure of immunization itself. As is well known, when vaccinating a patient against a disease, one introduces into his or her organism a tolerable amount, which means that in this case the medicine consists of the same poison which the organism needs to protect itself from. It is as if to save someone's life it is necessary to have him or her in some way sample death, injecting the same disease [male] which one wants to safeguard the patient from. In addition the Greek term pharmakon contains within it, as Derrida's classic study shows, the double meaning of "cure" and "poison," poison as cure, the cure that takes place through a poisoning. Today it is as if modern immunitary procedures have led to the maximum intensification of this contradiction. More and more the cure is given in the form of a lethal poison.

Campbell: I had the sense reading Bios that your perspective on the immunitary paradigm has changed since Immunitas, less a means for deconstructing the political and juridical categories of modernity and now seen more as an obstacle for sketching an affirmative biopolitics. What accounts for this change in your perspective, if indeed you agree that such a change has occurred? To return to the question above, do recent events decisively signal a different form of life, or better, a bios, at the center of the global polis?

Esposito: No, I wouldn't say that my perspective on the categories of immunization has changed over time. What has changed, it seems to me, at least in part, is the theoretical framework within which immunization is inscribed. We might say, in fact, that until Communitas, my intention (as well as the general tenor of my discourse) could somehow be assimilated (admitting of course its specific characteristics) to a deconstructionist perspective [End Page 51] applied to the political language of modernity. With regard to this first approach, which appears most evidently and meaningfully in my work on the impolitical [Categorie dell'impolitico], another kind of thought was progressively superimposed, without either excluding or completely substituting for the first. This second movement was more constructive, and moved in the direction of Deleuze's proposition according to which the primary character of philosophy is that of constructing concepts that can keep pace with the events that involve and transform us. The other point of reference in the last few years is that line of inquiry that moves from a Nietzschean genealogy to Foucault's ontology of actuality. It's clear that both these authors and above all the concept of ontology, however we may wish to understand it, bring us to Heidegger, but with an underlying difference that I tried to bring to light in Bios and more so in another text that was just published on the idea of human nature after humanism ["Il post-umano"]. I'm referring to the centrality that the theme of life enjoys in my research, insofar as such a theme is external to or at least marginalized in Heidegger's reflection. We recall that after having thematized it in his own way as "factitious life" in his early years at Freiburg, he then replaced it with the notion of "existence," which was then programmatically removed from a biological semantics. As is well known, despite the attention paid to the daily character of existence, the theme of the body doesn't make another appearance in Heidegger's thought, which is to say that it doesn't reemerge precisely as a biologically defined body.

It is precisely from this perspective on Heidegger that Merleau-Ponty's reflections began to assume greater importance for me, above all when he so clearly distances his thought from the classical phenomenology of the Husserlian sort, exactly through a thematization of the body in its environmental relation with the theme of "flesh." Without delving too much into the question—which was my approach in Bios—it seemed to me that Merleau-Ponty's refrain, especially in the later works, of the chiasmus between body and flesh could be useful for thinking a notion of biopolitics that was in some way positive. For that to be possible, which is to say that a politics of life emerges as thinkable, it's necessary to break the modern relation between biopolitics and immunization. As I've tried to demonstrate in Bios, especially in those sections dedicated to Nazism and its precedents, it was precisely an exasperated immunitary conception of biopolitics that became a form of paroxysmic thanatopolitics, that is, a politics of death. Now, to return to Merleau-Ponty, this immunitary, indeed autoimmunitary closure of biopolitics found its expression precisely in the idea of a body that is closed on itself; this is how the Nazi biocracy conceived of the German people. And of course the organicistic metaphor of the political body has always had a prevalently conservative meaning, until it takes on, with fascist corporativism, basically a reactionary character. It is just this blocked and compacted notion of the body that Merleau-Ponty deconstructs and opens to its outside and to its internal difference. The notion of flesh, first Christian and then phenomenological, when reread today against the backdrop of a twentieth-century artistic avant-garde (I'm thinking of Bacon and Cronenberg), can have a disruptive force. Flesh is the body that doesn't coincide completely with itself (as Nazism wanted, according as well to Levinas's interpretation), that isn't unified beforehand in an organic form, and that is not led by a head (which therefore is acephalous, as Bataille would say). No. Flesh is constitutively plural, multiple, and deformed. It is also from this point of view that one can begin to imagine an affirmative biopolitics.

Campbell: In a series of interviews before his death on the "events" of 9/11 as well as in his earlier contribution to his and Vattimo's collection Religion, Jacques Derrida too speaks of immunity, or better, of autoimmunity, and associates it with the effects of trauma: it is the correlative of a threat that something terrible will happen. You, on the other hand, employ a different perspective when discussing (auto)immunity, one more [End Page 52] indebted to Foucault's appropriation of a biopolitics first set out in Nietzsche. How do you understand "the ordeal of the event" as Derrida describes the events of 9/11 (and now Madrid and London) as marking a global autoimmunity crisis?

Esposito: First, let me begin with a general observation. The fact that some of the most important contemporary authors, working independently from one another and following different paths of thought, came to work on the category of immunization signals just how significant the category is today. From Derrida to Sloterdijk, from Agnes Heller to Donna Haraway, such a conclusion seems fairly clear. Today a philosophy that is capable of thinking its own moment [tempo] cannot avoid engaging with the question of immunization. Furthermore, the paradigm of immunization began to emerge as absolutely decisive even before, beginning with Nietzsche, and then continuing with Plessner and Gehlen's philosophical anthropology, and then to Luhmann, who sees the immunitary system of our society in law, without of course mentioning medicine. Obviously, the problem resides in the mode by which we conceive it and put it forward for examination. For example, both Sloterdijk and Haraway elaborate it, albeit differently, in an essentially positive manner, as something that is able to enrich and develop our experience at various levels. Derrida, rather, gives it a much less optimistic even tragic characterization. More than immunity or immunization, he always speaks of "autoimmunity," beginning with the essay on religion and then in his more recent interventions beginning after September 11. The explicit reference is to so-called autoimmune diseases. The contemporary political situation can indeed be interpreted in the light of a similar destructive and self-destructive process. On this point I am in complete agreement with him. It seems to me as well that the war currently underway is linked doubly with the immunitary paradigm, and that the war constitutes the form of immunity's exasperation, of its being out of control, which results in a sort of "immunitary crisis," in the sense that René Girard gives the expression a sense of "sacrificial crisis." The current conflict appears in fact to have arisen from the pressure created by two opposing and specular immunitary obsessions. I'm speaking of Islamic fundamentalism, which has decided to protect (even to the death) its religious, ethnic, and cultural purity from contamination by Western secularization; and the other found in certain parts of the West, and that is engaged in excluding the rest of the planet from sharing its own surplus of goods, as well as defending itself from the hunger that strikes a large part of the world that is increasingly condemned to forced anorexia. This is not to say that the two sides have the same responsibility or in other words that a homicidal and suicidal terrorism can have any kind of possible justification. However, looking at what is taking place today from a systemic perspective, it seems clear that when these two opposing stimuli are intertwined, the entire world is shaken by a convulsion that has the characteristics of the most devastating autoimmune disease: the excess of defense and the exclusion of those elements that are alien to the organism turn against the organism itself with potentially lethal effects. Not only did the Twin Towers explode, but along with it the immunitary system that had until then supported the world.

From this point of view, therefore, I agree with Derrida. Nevertheless, certain relevant differences remain vis-à-vis the formation of the category of immunity that in Derrida emerge as somewhat extemporaneous, in the sense that immunity is linked neither with the theme of community (which Derrida rejects in favor of the weaker concept, from my point of view, of friendship), nor with that of biopolitics, which is utterly extraneous to his thought. This isolation of the category of immunity, or better of autoimmunity, impedes Derrida from fully grasping the dialectic character of immunity, which is to say that life, be it single or common, would die without an immunitary apparatus. In fact Derrida doesn't treat the long-standing modern character of the immunitary paradigm, which emerges as crushed in the contemporary period. On the other hand, it is precisely the [End Page 53] indissolvable, albeit negative, relation with communitas that opens for me the possibility of a positive, communitarian reconversion of the same immunitary dispositif on which I began working in the final chapter of Immunitas. And that is in the sense indicated by current medical research. Isn't it precisely the immunitary system, what is defined as "immunological tolerance," that carries with it the possibility of organ transplants? Obviously, translating this nonnegative, hospitable notion of a "common immunity" into political or ethical terms isn't at all easy. Yet it is precisely on such a possibility that we have to gamble, just as for biopolitics. Moreover, Derrida also saw autoimmunity as a vital power that reacts against itself and therefore tends to cancel itself out. Today we need to recognize not only the self-destructive aspect of this dialectic, but also those aspects which are potentially creative and productive.

Campbell: To follow up on globalization and the immunitary paradigm, in Bios you explicitly associate a specific moment of immunization with modernization, when individualistic or private models substitute for forms of organization associated with communitas. Is there something radically different today in the autoimmunity crisis you describe that marks a break with the standard periodizations of modernity?

Esposito: If we were to fix a symbolic point of departure for the process of modern immunization, it could probably be found in Hobbes. It's with the advent of his philosophy that the question of an immunitary self-preservation of life encamps in the center of political theory and praxis. As is typical of the negative dialectic of immunization, subjects [sudditi] exchange, in order to protect their lives from the risk of death that is implicit in the community, the sacrifice of all their natural rights to the sovereign. All the political categories that Hobbes and those who follow him employ, that is, sovereignty, property, liberty, are nothing other than the linguistic and conceptual modalities by which the immunitary question of how to safeguard negatively individual and collective life is translated into philosophical/juridical terms. We could conclude that it wasn't modernity that posed the problem of immunization (in relation to the undoing of ancient communitarian practices), but rather that it is immunization that brings modernity into existence, or differently invents modernity as a complex of categories able to solve the problem of safeguarding life. What we call modernity, generally speaking, is nothing other than that language that allowed for more effective responses to be given to a series of requests for self-preservation originating deeply within life itself. Such a request for salvific accounts—consider, for example, that of the social contract—was born and then would become increasingly urgent, when the mechanisms of defense that had up until that moment constituted the shell of symbolic protection began to weaken, beginning with the transcendental perspective linked to a theological matrix. With these natural defenses missing, ones that had been rooted in a common meaning for all, this sort of primitive immunitary shield demanded, in short, a further dispositif, this time an artificial one, that was bound to protect human life from risks that were becoming increasingly unsustainable, such as those caused by civil wars and foreign invasions. Modern man needs a series of immunitary apparatuses that are intended to protect a life that has been completely given over to itself when the secularization of religious meaning takes place. This occurs precisely because man was projected toward the outside in a form that had never been experienced before. Naturally, as is typical of the immunitary dialectic, all of this has a price, which we can measure with the reversal of the original meaning that modern political categories put to the test, beginning with that of liberty.

That said, once this initial moment is established, it's clear that today we are no longer inside the immunitary semantics of the classic modern period. The underlying difference, recognizable in biopolitical terms, resides in the fact that in the classic modern [End Page 54] age the immunitary relationship between politics and the preservation of life was still mediated or filtered by a paradigm of order that was articulated in the concepts of sovereignty, representation, and individual rights. In the second phase (which through various steps takes us to today), however, that mediation diminishes in favor of a more immediate superimposition between politics and life. That's the moment when the immunitary mechanism that had been working until then (at least in the sense of insuring a possible order) begins to turn on itself with more and more destructive effects, given its ultimately continual recourse to create ever more extensive and intensive security-producing [securitari] dispositifs. All of this occurs thanks to a series of causes related to what one commonly refers to as globalization, in the sense that the more human beings (but also ideas, languages, and technologies [le tecniche]) communicate and intersect, the more a preventive immunization is generated as a kind of counterweight. As Derrida emphasizes, the new local enclaves, with their ethno-fundamentalist tendencies, can be explained as the immunitary rejection of that general contamination that is called globalization. It was precisely the fall of the Berlin Wall that produced as a reaction the raising of so many small walls. It is that which is defined as the passage from immunity to autoimmunity, which is to say, an immunity that is destined to destroy itself together with the other. Nazi thanatopolitics as well as more recent phenomena, such as those linked to September 11, can be read in this key. Nevertheless, as I said earlier, the most recent and terrible phase of the autoimmunitary process can also open scenarios never before seen whose parameters we still cannot make out.

Campbell: In your chapter on thanatopolitics in Bios, I was struck by your description of the Nazi extermination of the Jews as having a "homeopathic tonality, " which emerges in your reading as implicit in "a unique logical and semantic chain that links degeneration, regeneration, and genocide." In particular you locate three immunitarian apparatuses that characterize the Nazi thanatopolitics: the normativization of life, the double enclosure of the body, and the anticipatory suppression of life. While recognizing the subtlety of your reading, I have some doubts about such an approach that attempts to inscribe them in the horizon of a contemporary biopolitics. And so: isn't there a real risk in such an approach of removing the historical specificity of the Nazi extermination camps?

Esposito: Yes, such a risk exists. But to a certain degree it's unavoidable in all analyses of Nazism, which always come up against the problem of defining something like genocide, which isn't representable with the usual ethical and political categories and which slips through conceptual language itself. Nevertheless we have to run the risk; otherwise we would consign ourselves either to silence (and to the still greater risk of a loss of memory) or to more traditional analyses. After the first hints in Foucault and then Levinas's illuminating fragment on Hitlerism, Agamben's interventions have also been very good on this theme. As for me, it seemed useful to think about the entire cycle of genos, from birth to death, one in the other.

I have tried to uncover what death meant for Nazism, beginning with a reversed and perverted conception of biopolitics. Not only did Nazism's entire praxis pivot on biopolitics—it was the precipice of a logic that couldn't result in anything other than immense catastrophe—but death for Nazism was also more complicated. It was what they wanted to avoid at all costs in an obsessive search for immortality. It was also the instrument with which they thought to obtain it. Precisely because they were obsessed by an unbearable fear of death, that is, of seeing what they held to be an elect race degenerate into extinction, the Nazis, after attempting to annihilate what seemed to threaten them, transmitted a massive portion of death within the elected race. This is the deadly figure that Nazism's biopolitical dispositif literally assumed: wanting to save the life of the German people at [End Page 55] any cost by protecting it from a contagious, infected part, they came to the point of condemning all of the German people to death, which is what Hitler's last order issued from the barricades makes clear. The Nazis defended themselves from a death to come, the result of an infection produced by inferior races, by going through with a real death. The logical passage that allowed for such a choice to be made was the idea that life that was to destroyed was in reality already condemned to death, a life that death produces and death inhabits. This was the reason that those who spread death did not consider themselves assassins but, rather, impartial judges because they were charged with reestablishing the natural borders between life and death that the mixing of races had erased. In their homicidal madness, they believed that they weren't doing anything other than giving back to death the life that had always belonged to it; a life born dead or a living death.

But if Nazism conceived of death in this way, birth too was seen as ambivalent, an object of both fascination and repulsion, something provocative and at the same time, increasingly, as something to annihilate. Gisela Bock has already noted an underlying incongruence between the destruction of birth practiced by the Nazis and the natalist ideology that always accompanied its being put into practice [see Maternity and Gender Policies]. In fact the Nazi commitment for increasing the birth rate of the German population is well known. Nazism severely prohibited abortion and financially supported families with more than two children. Nazism also saw in the continuing birth of those who had the same blood the unifying thread that kept the German national body identical with itself across generations. If the State is really the body of its inhabitants, as the Nazis believed, and if they in turn are unified in the body of the leader, politics is nothing other than the modality through which birth is held up as the only live political force of history. However, birth, precisely because it is charged with this political value, also becomes the line along which life is separated from itself, breaking into subordinate orders: masters and slaves, human beings [uomini] and animals, and the living and the dead. Birth becomes the object of a sovereign decision that, precisely because it appears to have emerged directly from life itself, proceeds by dividing it beforehand into zones of different value. This is how the Nazi ambivalence toward birth is to be understood: on the one hand, as the exaltation before the fact of a life that is racially perfect; on the other hand, as the removal of the status of the living from those sentenced to death. They could and needed to die since they had never been truly born. Once identified with the German nation, birth suffers the same fate as life, which is also held in a biopolitical grip, and which can only be pried open through a collective death.

Roberto Esposito teaches contemporary philosophy at the Italian Institute for the Human Sciences in Naples, Italy. His Communitas: Origin and Destiny of Community is forthcoming from Stanford University Press and Third Person: Politics of Life and the Philosophy of the Impersonal from Polity.
Timothy Campbell is an associate professor of Italian Studies at Cornell University.


 

Posted by 상겔스 상겔스
* 용어도 제대로 통일되어 있지 않은 초벌을 올린다. 삶정치/생정치에 관한 작업 노트의 일환으로 꾸준한 읽기가 필요하기 때문에, 고민의 가닥을 잡기 위한 것이라 생각하면 무난할 듯... 조만간 기회를 내서 다시 수정할 것이다.

생정치에서 통치와 계몽으로

― 네그리와 푸코의 생정치 개념에 관한 노트

* 글쓴이 : 하코다 테츠(箱田徹)

* 출 처 : ≪현대사상≫ 2008년 5월호, (173~179쪽)

네그리의 푸코 독해는 비판적이며 도발적이다. 현재적 푸코 수용에 적극적으로 개입하여 자신의 이론적 틀에서 푸코와 대화한다. 확실히 푸코는 근래 들어 다양하게 독해되고 있다. 생권력론을 묵시록적인 주권론과 결합시키는 철학자라든지, 통치성론보다는 감시사회론을 선호하는 방향으로 나아가는 사회학자나 정치학자도 있고, 말년의 계몽론을 자유주의 부흥의 큰 흐름 속에 위치시키는 정치철학자도 있다. 또한 다른 한편으로, 통치성론으로부터 큰 정부에 대한 비판과 자기책임론을 이끌어내고, 신자유주의의 옹호로 재빨리 변신하는 사람들의 모습이 눈에 띈다. 그러나 네그리는 이러한 모든 경향과 명확하게 선을 긋는다. 그리고 나아가 푸코를 현대의 사상상황에 관한 논쟁의 무대 위로 다시 올려놓고자 한다. 그에게 있어서 푸코란 ‘현실의 새로운 물질적 규정들이나 생산적 및 혁명적 컨텍스트의 변용과 결합된 이론적인 가능성의 새로운 틀을 만들어냈던’ 철학자이다.[안토니오 네그리, <제국적 포스트근대의 정치철학>, 上村忠男 감수, 提康德, 中村勝己 옮김, 東京: 築摩書房, 2007년, 146쪽.] 네그리는 생권력과 생정치라는 푸코에서 유래한 개념을 개정하고, 나아가 후기 푸코를 높이 평가하는 것을 통해 현대적 푸코 독해가 취할 수 있는 하나의 길을 강력하게 시사하고 있다.

1. 생정치와 생권력 ― 푸코, 네그리, 아감벤

네그리는 ‘생권력’과 ‘생정치’라는 근래의 핵심 개념을 푸코에게 빚지고 있다. 그러나 그 사실을 넘어서는 것에, 이러한 두 개념의 의미가 네그리와 푸코 사이에 크게 달라진다는 것은 그렇게 알려져 있지 않다. 푸코가 ‘생권력’을 정리된 형태로 논했던 것은 ≪앎에의 의지≫(1976)의 마지막 장인 <죽음에 대한 권리와 생에 대한 권력>이었다. 푸코는 여기에서 유럽에서는 18세기 중반 무렵부터 주권자인 군주가 개인으로서의 신민의 생살여탈의 권리를 장악하는 것으로 상징되는 권력 쪽에, 개인들을 주민(=인구)로서 파악하고 관리하는 것을 목표로 하는 권력의 새로운 형태가 대두하게 되었다고 논하며, 이것을 생에 대한 권력, 즉 생권력이라고 불렀다. 또한 이보다 앞서서 76년의 콜레주 드 프랑스 강의 ≪사회를 보호해야 한다≫의 마지막 회(3월 17일)에서는 우생학이나 국가에 의한 인종차별(인종주의)이 권력장치의 질적인 이행을 보여주는 것으로 언급되며, 나치에 의한 통치가 생권력의 일반화된 사회의 존재방식으로서 제시되고 있다. 왜냐하면 푸코가 나중에 말하듯이, 주민이란 국가의 고유한 이해에 토대를 두고 돌봐주는 것에 다름 아니며, 그런 의미에서 국가는 필요가 있다면 주민을 학살할 수도 있다. 죽음의 정치tanato politique는 생정치biopolitique와 표리일체이기 때문이다.

90년대 후반부터 특히 2000년대 초반에 생권력과 생정치라는 말이 일거에 확산된 계기를 만들었던 것은 아감벤의 ≪호모 사케르≫와 네그리&하트의 ≪제국≫이었다. 아감벤에 따르면 ‘생정치’란 주권의 현대적 형태이며, 사람들은 여기에서 생물학적 존재, 벌거벗은 생이라는 극한상태로 환원되고 있다. 그것을 단적으로 나타내는 것이 우생학이나 나치에 의한 강제수용소와 유대인 학살이다.[Foucault, Michel, Dits et écrits: 1954-1988, 4 tomes, Paris: Editions Gallimard/Le Seuil, 1994, IV, p. 826.] 다른 한편, 네그리는 현대는 포스트규율훈육형 사회로서의 ‘감시관리(control)형 사회’라고 말한 들뢰즈를 토대로 하여, ‘생권력’이란 규율훈육 권력이 전면화하여 생에 대한 감시관리의 양상을 점점 강화하는 권력의 현대적 존재방식을 가리킨다고 말한다. 이런 의미에서 ‘제국’이란 생권력적인 전지구적 주권이다.

그러나 이들의 용어법은 사실과 개념 규정이라는 두 측면 모두에서 푸코의 것과는 거리가 있다. 우선 사실의 수준에서 말하자면, 푸코에게는 ‘생권력’과 ‘생정치’의 구별이 없다. 원래 ‘생권력’이라는 말이 사용되었던 시기는 1976년에 한정되며, ≪말해진 것과 쓰여진 것≫ 전체에서는 76년의 강연 <권력의 네트워크>에서 한번 등장했을 뿐이다.[Foucault, Dits, III, pp. 198~199.] 70년대 말의 통치성 강의에서도, 78년 강의 ≪안전, 영토, 인구≫에 한번 등장할 뿐이며, 이듬해인 79년의 강의 ≪생정치의 탄생≫에서는 한 번도 이 말이 사용되고 있지 않다.[Foucault, Michel, Securitiè, territoire et population, Paris: Editions Gallimard/Le Seuil, 2004, p. 23.] 푸코의 이론적 틀에는 ‘생권력’은 고유한 개념으로서 존재하지 않으며, ‘생정치’와 ‘안전’(securité)에 포섭되고 있다.

푸코에 따르면 ‘생정치’란 어떤 영역(베스트팔렌 체제 이후의 주권국가와 거의 같은 뜻)의 내부에서 생활하는 사람들을 ‘주민’(=인구)로서 집합적으로 파악한 위에서, 거기에서 생기는 건강, 위생, 출생율, 수명, 인종 등 생물학적 ․ 병리학적 현상을 문제화하고, 그것에 대응하는 국가의 통치 이성의 존재방식을 가리킨다.[Foucault, Michel, Naissance de la biopolitique, Paris: Editions Gallimard/Le Seuil, 2004, p. 323 & Foucault, Securitiè, p. 377.] 물론 섹슈얼리티의 병리학적인 문제화라는 주제가 중요한 위치를 차지하고 있다는 것은 말할 것도 없다. 또한 ‘안전’이란 생정치적 관리를 떠받치는 이념형 또는 장치이다. 범죄나 역병(疫病)을 사회에 부수하는 것으로 간주하고, 그 발생을 일정한 틀 안에서 통제하고자 하는 공중위생적인 발상을 일례로 거론할 수 있을 것이다. 따라서 이런 의미에서의 생정치에는 네그리가 논하는, 포스트-포드주의 체제 하에서의 노동시간과 비노동시간의 구별의 상실, 경향으로서의 비물질노동의 대두 등과 같은 사태는 포함되지 않는다. 푸코의 생정치란 어디까지나 폴리스, 즉 행정관리에 관련된 것이며, 정치 개념이 아니다.

2. 생정치, 생권력과 주권 : 관계적 주관개념으로

이 사실을 토대로 한 위에서 푸코와 네그리의 개념 규정에 관한 차이를, 즉 생정치와 ‘주권’의 관계에 관한 차이를 검토하고 싶다. 푸코에게 있어서 생정치, 안전, 인구 등의 개념군은 무엇보다도 우선, 법을 축으로 한 주권형 권력으로부터 규범(norm)을 축으로 한 규율훈련. 안전형 권력으로의 이행을 나타내는 것이었다. 따라서 푸코에게 있어서 자유주의의 결정적 새로움이란 죽음을 담보로 하여 명령하는 절대적인 주권형 권력으로부터 신체의 길들이기에 의한 규범의 내면화를 축으로 한 규율형 권력으로, 그리고 이로부터 나아가 집단에 관해서 일정한 범위 내에서의 일탈이나 비정상을 허용한 위에서, 그것을 관리하는 안전형 권력으로 이행을 선포하고 있다는 점에 있다.

이로부터 간파할 수 있듯이, 푸코에게 있어서 ‘주권’이란 무엇보다도 우선 주권자로서의 군주를 통해서 작동하는 권력장치이며, 군주․신민 간의 지배․피지배의 관계이다. 물론 ‘주권-규율훈련-안전’이라는 권력장치의 세 가지 유형은 시대관통적으로 병존하는 것이며, 시대 구분을 위한 틀이 아니다. 다만 그것과 주권개념이 푸코의 권력론 속에 존재론적인 역할을 맡고 있지 않다는 것 사이에는 모순이 없다. 나아가 말하자면, 주권개념을 역사 한정적인 것으로 하는 푸코의 입장은 권력론의 주춧돌인 관계론적 권력 개념의 존재방식으로부터도 이해할 수 있을 것이다. 권력이란 국가와 개인들이 소유․행사․양도․탈취할 수 있는 것이 아니기 때문에, 주권개념이 권력 개념의 기초로 되는 것도 있을 수 없다.

다른 한편으로, 네그리에게 있어서 주권은 생권력의 측에서 발견되는 것이며, 그런 위에서 생권력과 생정치의 본질적인 비대칭성이 파악되고 있다. 즉 생권력이란 전지구적 형태로 행사되는 주권의 ‘제국’적 형태이며, 생정치란 거기에서 영위되는 다중의 정치적이고 경제적인 생산활동을 가리킨다. 이러한 틀 아래에서 네그리는 ‘제국’과 다중 사이의, 또는 자본과 프롤레타리아트 사이의 현대적 적대성의 쟁점이, 생 그 자체라는 것을 서술한다. 그리고 ‘일자의 통치’를 섬기며, 주권에 관한 투쟁을 정치적인 범주의 사태에 한정하는 주권이론이 ‘만인의 만인에 의한 통치’라는 절대민주주의의 이념과, 다수이자 종별적인 다중의 구성적 권력을 항상 가두어 왔다고 지적한다.[안토니오 네그리, 마이클 하트, ≪다중≫ 제3부 제3장 <다중의 민주주의>를 참조.] 물론 ‘제국’에는 중심이 없으며, 생권력도 무엇인가가 독점하여 행사할 수 있는 것이 아니다. 푸코가 탈중심화한 권력 개념을 얻기 위해 상대화한 주권개념을 분석의 중심에 놓고, 생권력을 통해 현재의 세계를 고찰한다는 것은 이 개념을 아감벤이 묘사하는 (어떤 의미에서는 1976년의 푸코에게 극히 충실한) 생정치와 근접하게 되며, 종말론적인 어조를 띠게 되는 것과도 연결되어 있다.[네그리, ≪다중≫, 제1부 <전쟁>을 참조. 이러한 경향에 대한 비판에 관해서는 다음 대담 속의 이치다의 논의를 참조. (특히 71~73쪽) 이치다 요시히코 외, <다중이란 무엇인가>, ≪현대사상≫ 제33권, 제12호, 2005년, 56~75쪽.]

그러나 동시에 네그리에게 있어서는 주권의 생권력화라는 사태는, 생권력의 저항의 가능성을 조금도 감소하는 것이 아니다. 이러한 일견 비틀어진 주장을 가능하게 하는 것은 ≪다중≫ 제3부 제3장 <다중의 민주주의>에서, 네그리가 강조하는 주권의 ‘관계’적 성격이다. 즉, 주권이란 일자의 통치를 집행하는 권력이면서 동시에 자본과 노동, 통치자와 피치자, ‘제국’과 다중의 관계이기도 한 것이다. 네그리는 여기에서 생정치와 생권력의 본질적 비대칭성을 확인함으로써 ‘제국’의 주권이 지구 전체를 포함해가기 때문에, 양자의 적대성은 더욱 첨예화된다고 말한다. 그리고 ‘주권이 양면성’이라는 표현을 통해 주권이 품고 있는 본래적인 모순을 노출시켜 보여준다. 확실히 현대의 주권은 생권력이라는 형태로, 신민에 대한 생살여탈의 절대적 권리를 손에 넣고 있다. 다만 그 권리를 전면적으로 행사하는, 즉 신민을 섬멸하는 것은 현실에서는 불가능하며, 생에 대한 지배를 거절하는 다중의 저항을 억누를 수도 없다. 다른 한편으로, 자본이 자기 자신의 재생산을 위해 노동에 의존하지 않을 수 없으며, 노동과의 타협을 반드시 강요받게 되듯이, 제국의 주권도 다중의 생산성에 결정적으로 의존하고 있다. 즉, 주권이란 외부가 없다는 의미에서 절대적이지만, 피치자로부터 자율적일 수 없다는 점에서 상대적이다. ‘제국’은 다중의 동의를 취득하지 않고서는 스스로를 존속시킬 수 없다는 것은 이런 의미에서이다. 네그리가 관계라는 표현으로 주권을 재파악하고, 그것을 항쟁이 전개되는 장으로서 제시하는 것은 후기의 푸코가 ‘통치’를 권력과 저항에 관한 가장 기본적인 물음의 틀로 파악했다는 것을 상기시켜 준다.

3. 자기와 타자를 이끄는 운동으로서의 통치

통치 개념은 1978년에 ≪안전, 영토, 인구≫에서 푸코의 이론적 틀 속에 처음으로 나타난다. 이어서 이듬해 ≪생정치의 탄생≫을 포함한 자유주의와 신자유주의의 통치성에 관한 고찰로부터, 82년 강의 ≪주체의 해석학≫이나 ≪쾌락의 활용≫과 ≪자기에의 배려≫(모두 84년)에서 논해진 그리스 로마 시대의 철학 학파들과 자기에의 배려의 실천, 또한 동시기에 전개된 파레시아론에 이르기까지, 후기 푸코의 사색 전체를 인솔한다. 푸코는 이 개념을 도입했을 때부터 이 개념을 가장 넓은 의미에서 파악하고 있다. 원래 ‘통치’라는 말이 ‘국가의 통치’라는 현대적 의미를 얻었던 것은 16세기 이래의 것으로, 그 이전의 기독교 세계에서는 ‘사람이 사람을 이끈다’라는 의미로 이해되어 왔다. 그리고 나아가 시대를 거슬러 올라가면 ‘통치하다’에 해당하는 라틴어나 그리스어 단어는 관리나 운영, 배의 조타(操舵) 등을 의미하는 것이었다. 이러한 경위를 토대로 하면 ‘통치’gouverner란 무엇인가를 ‘이끄는’conduire 운동이다.

확실히 현대의 ‘통치’라고 말하면, 자유주의에서 신자유주의에 이르는 서양 근대의 통치이성의 존재방식을 가리키는 경우가 많다. 실제로 푸코가 70년대 말에 다루었던 대상은 베스트팔렌 체제에 의한 주권국가 체제의 성립에서부터 절대왕정 말기에 성립된 자유주의의 맹아적 형태로서의 중농주의의 경제이론, 그리고 두 번의 세계 대전을 거쳐 성립한 수정자본주의로서의 신자유주의, 그리고 석유위기 이후의 서방 세계에 본격적으로 대두하기 시작했던 시장원리주의적인 신자유주의의 통치이성이었다. 이러한 ‘사람의 통치’의 원형에 있는 것은 기독교의 사목, 신도 관계를 원형으로 이념화된 ‘전체적이고 개별적인’ ‘사목권력’이다. 그런데, 이러한 일반적 이해를 뛰어넘은 통치성 강의의 흥미로운 점은 통치 개념의 계보학적 분석이 당초의 목적이었던 국가론 영역을 처음부터 보기 시작하여 사목의 구조도 포함한 ‘통치’와 ‘이끎’의, 초역사적이라고 말해도 좋은 틀을 필연적으로 발견하게 되었다는 점이다. 이 틀에서 보면, 자유주의도 또한 ‘자기의 자기에 대한 통치’이며, 국가의 자신에 대한 관계를 문제화하여, 항상 자신이 ‘지나치게 통치하는’ 것에 대한 불안에 빠져드는 통치이성의 한 가지 유형으로서 파악되고 있다. 달리 말하면, 사목의 구조와 주권국가 체제가 결합된 근대적 통치성이란 중요하더라도, 역사적으로 보면 통치의 한 형태에 불과한 ‘통치의 사고accident’인 것이다.[Carsenti, Bruno, “La politique de dehors,” in Multitudes, vol. 22. 2005, pp. 42~3. 이 전후의 논의에 관해서는 다음의 졸고를 참조. 箱田徹, <에로스의 기법을 재독하다 ― 푸코 통치론의 형성과정>, ≪사회사상사연구≫, 제31호, 2007년, 91~107쪽.]

‘통치’의 문구(問口)가 이렇게 넓게 설정되었다는 것의 의의는, 이 개념이 권력론과 저항론의 두 측면을 나란히 가지고 있었다는 점에서 찾을 수 있다. 아주 흥미롭게도 푸코는 통치성이 변용하는 원인을 학문이나 통치구조에 의한 실천의 ‘자율적인’ 전개에서가 아니라 기존의 통치성에 대한 도전(또는 저항)에서 찾고 있다는 점이다. 그리고 나아가, 기존의 ‘이끎’과 ‘대항 이끎’[≪안전, 영토, 인구≫]의 역동성에 의해서, 종교개혁이나 자유주의의 탄생을 이해하고자 했다고도 할 수 있다.[예를 들어 다음을 참조. Foucault, Michel, “Qu'est-ce que la critique?”[Critique et Auflärung], Bulletin de la Société française de Philosophie, vol. 84, no. 2, 1990.] 그리고 여기에서는 통치의 양의적인 성격이 확실히 의식되고 있다. 예를 들어 푸코는 중세의 개혁적 수도원에서의 성직자의 육성방법을 사목권력의 모형으로서 논하고 있지만, 다른 한편으로 수도원의 설립 자체를 부패한 카톨릭교회의 이끎에 대한, 신자의 대항이끎으로써 제시하고 있다. 또한 이란 혁명을 대항 이끎이라는 말은 사용하고 있지 않지만, 분명히 그 도식을 염두에 두고 서술하고 있다.[箱田徹, <이슬람적 통치는 존재하지 않는다 ― 푸코의 이란혁명론과 대항이끎>] 양자에 공통적인 것은 개혁이나 저항이라는 대항이끎이 제도화라는 이끎에 항상 선행한다는 점이다. 즉 푸코는 1970년대 말에 통치를 자신의 어휘에 덧붙인 단계에서 이미, 권력과 저항의 물음을 동시에 다룰 수 있는 개념의 가능성을 모색하고 있었던 것이다.

4. 생정치와 계몽의 현행성

이렇게 보면 네그리에 의한 관계로서의 주권개념과 푸코에 의한 이끎으로써의 통치 개념은 모두 권력관계의 내부에서 투쟁하는 주체의 운동을 어떻게 서술할 것인가라는 물음을 건드리고 있다는 것을 알 수 있다. 여기에서 역사적 배경을 돌이켜 보면 의외의 것을 알 수 있다. 네그리가 ‘제국’ 개념을 신자유주의의 전지구화의 맥락에서 구상했듯이, 푸코는 ‘통치’ 개념을 석유위기 이후의 프랑스 경제의 지속적 저하와 지스칼 데스탕 정권에 의한 신자유주의적 정책의 도입의 맥락 속에서 구상했다. 푸코는 규율훈육형 권력의 시대가 결정적인 종말을 맞이하고, 안정형 권력이 전경화되고 있는 시대의 분위기를 민감하게 느끼고 있었던 셈이다. 다른 한편, 훈육규율권력에 대한 저항으로서 그가 염두에 두었던 것은 ≪감시와 처벌≫ 제4부의 후반에 등장하여 규범의 체현자로서의 재판관의 교설을 가볍게 받아넘기는 경범죄자(비행자)에 의한 비규율indiscipline의 실천이며, 수용과 교정을 목표로 한 체제에 대항하여 각지에서 울려퍼졌던 ‘투쟁의 울림’이었을 것이다. 다만 70년대 후반에 들어서자 비규율은 이미 저항으로서의 유효성을 상실하고, 개별적 투쟁은 급격히 쇠퇴한다. 이러한 상황에서 푸코는 ‘계몽’과 마주쳤던 것이다.

푸코가 계몽의 사상가로 간주한 것은 칸트와 보들레르이다.[다음을 참조. Foucault, “Qu'est-ce que les Lumières,” Dits, IV, pp. 562~578; Foucault, Michel, Le Gouveranement de soi et des autres, Paris: Editions Gallimard/Le Seuil, 2008, pp. 3~39.] 칸트에게 있어서의 ‘계몽’이란 이성에 관한 미완성 상태로부터 벗어나 성인이 되는 것이었다. 즉 타인의 이끎이 없이, 자신을 이끄는 것, 이성을 공적으로 사요할 수 있는 입장을 확립하는 것이었다. 그때 사람은 역사적인 과정의 한 요소로서 계몽을 집단적으로 살아 있게 하는 동시에, 한 사람의 행위자로서 계몽에 참가하는 것에 된다. 이 세상이 이미 계몽의 시대라는 것을 느끼기 위해서는 현재란 어떠한 시대인가를 자신에게 물어야만 하기 때문이다. 다른 한편으로, 보들레르도 역시 예술을 통해 현재를 살고자 한다. 그의 태도는 시대의 유행을 뒤따라가기만 하는 댄디적인 것과는 확실히 다르다. 현재와의 관련 속에서 자신을 당사자로서 ‘미적으로’ 구성해 가는 의지를 가지고, 그것을 끊임없이 실천한다는 고유한 생의 스타일이기 때문이다. 푸코가 계몽적이고 모던한 댄디즘을 발견하는 것은 무엇보다도 여기에서이다. 칸트와 보들레르, 이 두 사람에게 있어서 현재란 과거와 마래의 관계 속에서 상대적으로 위치지어지는 역사상의 한 시대가 아니다. 현재성(현행성)이라고 푸코가 부른, 종별적인 지금 여기의 것이다. 두 사람이 계몽을 살았던 것은 현실을 비판적으로 살고, 또한 자신에게 무엇이 가능한가를 문제화하는 것을 통해 통치의 물음에 몰입했기 때문이다.

네그리는 이러한 계보학적 시간의식의 존재방식을 푸코의 방법에 본질적인 것으로 파악한다. “과거의 마래 사이가 아니라 과거와 미래를 나누는 현재 속에서, 물음의 장소가 설정되고 있는 것입니다. … 그의 관점은 사건의 지각, 싸우는 것의 지각에 걸맞는 것입니다. 그리고 미리 지각되고 있는 모든 필연성이나 모든 목적론으로부터 빠져 나와 위험을 부르짖는 기쁨을 지각하는 것에 걸맞는 것입니다.”[네그리, <‘제국’적 포스트근대의 정치철학>] 이것은 ≪제국≫에서 발견되는 푸코의 계몽론에 대한 비판, 즉 과거와 미래의 경계에 머문다는 그의 입장은 일반적인 계몽론의 틀을 벗어나지 않는다는 평가[안토니오 네그리, 마이클 하트, ≪제국≫, 윤수종 옮김, 이학사]로부터 한걸음 내딛은 것이다. ≪다중≫에서는 또한 이렇게 쓴다. 생정치적인 이의제기의 존재론적 조건은 “미셸 푸코가 현재성과 우리들 자신에 관한 비판적 물음이라고 부른 것에 가깝다. … 이러한 이의지게의 하나하나 속에 민주주의의 기획이 내포되어 있으며, 많은 투쟁은 다중의 ‘살’의 일부를 이루고 있다.”[네그리, ≪다중≫, 조정환 외 옮김, 세종서적.]

물론 푸코의 이론적 틀에서 보면 주권의 틀을 받아들일 수 없다. 그가 욕망이라는 말에 포함시킨 억압으로부터의 해방이라는 어조에 마지막까지 마음을 열지 않았듯이, 주권도 또한 법적 권력관의 뉘앙스를 띠고 있기 때문이다. 양대세력이 형성하는 적대성도 선택지에 들어가지 않는다. 푸코가 통치나 이끎이라는 말을 사용했던 것은 개인으로부터 국가에 이르는 모든 주체의 이끎을 동일한 구도에 의해 설명하고, 권력론과 저항론을 접속하기 위해서였기 때문이다. 통치란 자기를 이끌고, 타자로부터 이끌어진, 타자를 이끈다는 삼중의 운동이며, ‘자기’란 재귀대명사인 이상, 어떠한 것도 통치의 주체로 될 수 있다. 말하자면 푸코는 집합적인 주권성의 조직화를 상세하게 말하는 것도, ‘좋은’ 이끎의 조건들을 논하는 것도 하지 않았다. 푸코에게 있어서 계몽이란 “의지와 권위, 이성의 사용과의 사이의 종래의 관계의 변천”이며, 방기나 부정이 아니다. 이 변천이라는 실천의 형태는 자기와 타자가 이끎과 대항이끎을 통해 관계하는 모든 장면에 공통한다. 왜냐하면 자기가 자신을 이끈다는 운동을 거절하는 것은 원리적으로 불가능하기 때문이다. 바꿔 말하면, 푸코에게 있어서 통치의 장에는 항상 이미 이끎이 있으며, 투쟁이 있다는 것으로 충분했기 때문일 것이다. 따라서 통치의 실천으로서의 다중의 미래에 관해서 푸코가 무엇인가를 말할 수 없는 없었을 것이다. 다만, 네그리가 생정치 개념을 ‘정치적인’ 것으로서 재독해하는 것을 통해, 이끎과 대항이끎이 서로 다투는 신자유주의의 전지구적 무대 위에서 이 개념을 꺼내었다는 것은 후기 푸코의 개념군이 정치란 무엇인가라는 물음에 관해 논쟁적으로 독해되어야 한다는 것을 설득력 있게 이야기하고 있다.

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근 몇 년 동안 생/삶-정치bio-politique에 관한 고민을 계속하고 있다.

잘 알겠지만 이것은 미셸 푸코가 제시한 개념이다. 그리고 근래에는 바이오 테크놀로지의 발전에 의해 생기는 문제들과 관련되어 사용되기도 한다. 하지만 그런 류의 해석은, 푸코를 활용하여 논하기에는 그다지 정합적이지 않다. 장-뤽 낭시를 따라 말하자면, “생에 의해 포괄적으로 결정되고 그 통제에 전념하는 정치질서”가 이 말의 본래 의미이다. 그러나 이것만으로는 너무 막연하다. 따라서 푸코를 다양한 선분들과 연결할 필요가 있다. 푸코와 들뢰즈, 푸코와 네그리, 푸코와 아감벤, 푸코와 낭시, 푸코와 아렌트 등등. 앞의 세 쌍에 대해서는 별도의 글을 통해 간략하게 서술할 것이기 때문에 푸코와 낭시, 특히 아렌트를 매개로 한 이 둘의 관계를 생각해 보기로 한다.

아렌트는 근대란 인간적 생과 동물적 생명이 뒤섞여 버린 시대라고 말한다. 즉, 종교의 쇠퇴에 의해 피안/초월적 세계를 상실한 인간은 가능한 한 좋은 조건으로 오랜 시간 동안 이 세상에서의 생을 향유하는 것을 최고의 가치로 삼게 되었다. 그러한 인간이 바로 “노동하는 동물”이다. 이때 현대 사회를 지배하는 정치는 동물종의 자기 관리/통제로서의 법이다.

이러한 아렌트의 논의에 관해 낭시는 “과연 생이라는 말을 과거와 동일한 의미에서 사용할 수 있을까?”라고 묻는다. 이미 자연적인 생은 소멸했으며, 생명은 자생하는 것이 아니라 기술에 의해 관리/통제되게 되었다. 낭시는 그것을 에코테크니ecotechnie라는 개념을 사용해 설명한다. 일체의 생명이 에코테크니 속에서 발생하며, 인간은 이제 자신의 생의 주권을 쥐지 못하게 되었다. 주권은 에코테크니 그 자체 속에 포함되며, 생과 권력은 목적성을 갖지 않은 채 어딘가로 나아가고 있다. 생-정치학이란 이러한, 인간이 노동하는 동물로 되고 나아가 그 생이 기술적으로 관리되는 체제 하에서 발생하는 것이다.

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