Natality and biopolitics in Hannah Arendt

Miguel E. Vatter

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52 Citations (Scopus)


This essay discusses the genesis of Arendt’s concept of natality, and the reasons that led her to claim natality as a fundamental concept of political thought. The essay argues against the widespread thesis that Arendt took her idea of natality from Heidegger’s existential analysis of human life. It argues, instead, that Arendt’s account of natality should be situated within the discourse of bio-politics, and
that it is based on a conception of life that is anti-Heideggerian. Arendt’s political thought is a species of bio-politics that counters totalitarianism on its own terrain, namely, by identifying what in life poses a resistance to the totalitarian project of attaining total domination over life
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-159
Number of pages23
JournalRevista de Ciencia Politica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • biopolitics
  • Arendt
  • Heidegger
  • natality
  • liberty
  • totalitarianism


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