Violent Female Bodies: Questioning Thanatopolitics, by Adriana Cavarero

Among the various expressions of contemporary violence targeting helpless people unilaterally and at random, the phenomenon of women suicide bombers looks particularly uncanny. Characterized as it is by a “semantic excess,” the issue of female bodies imagined as bearers of life who turn into bearers of death seems to resist conceptualization, even conceptualization performed by such categories as biopolitcs and thanatopolitics. By critically revisiting Hobbes’ conception of the metaphor of the “Body Politic,” Arendt’s distinction between private and public realm, Foucault’s paradigm of biopower and Agamben’s concept of “bare life,” the essay provides speculative tools regarding the relationship between politics and the body.

Article available through Philosophy Documentation Center, here.

Adriana Cavarero is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Verona. In the past she has held visiting professorships at New York University, University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. Among her works translated into English are Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence (Columbia, 2009), For More than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression (Stanford, 2005), Stately Bodies: Literature, Philosophy, and the Question of Gender (Michigan, 2002), Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood (Routledge, 2000), and In Spite of Plato: A Feminist Rewriting of Ancient Philosophy (Routledge, 1995).

Adriana Cavarero, “Violent Female Bodies: Questioning Thanatopolitics,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 36:1 (2015), pp. 129–44.

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