Nietzsche and Biopolitics: Four Readings of Nietzsche as a Biopolitical Thinker

Vanessa Lemm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter considers the two elements that are rather crucial, although obscured, in Michel Foucault's theory of biopolitics. On the one hand, Walter Benjamin's notion of bare life as separated from the form of life and, while on the other, there is the ancient notion of an apparatus as a biopolitical mechanism that produces this separation between life and its form. As such, biopolitics appears as the successor of a previous emergence of disciplinary power and represents a sophisticated consequence of the mere fact of the entrance of life into history. The chapter focuses on an often-overlooked aspect of difference, what could be termed as the onto-theo-logical dimension of bare life. It then focuses on Agamben's genealogical discovery of the origins of the 'apparatus', which goes 'well beyond the chronological limits that Foucault assigned to his genealogy, to the early centuries of Christian theology, which witness the first, tentative elaboration of the Trinitarian doctrine in the form of an oikonomia'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Biopolitics
EditorsSergei Prozorov, Simona Rentea
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315612751
ISBN (Print)9781472449641
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Nietzsche
  • Biopolitics
  • philosophy


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