Title page for ETD etd-05152007-134833

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hall, Lindsay Anne
URN etd-05152007-134833
Title Death, Power, and the Body: A Bio-political Analysis of Death and Dying
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Chair
Nelson, Scott C. Committee Member
Vazquez-Arroyo, Antonio Y. Committee Member
  • Death and Dying
  • Power
  • Giorgio Agamben
  • Michel Foucault
Date of Defense 2007-05-07
Availability unrestricted
According to Michel Foucault, life has become the focus of an infinite amount of both micro and macro management strategies, the point of which being to optimize health and to prolong life. Foucault labeled such strategies as “bio-power.” While bio-power exists on many levels of society, my focus has been on certain medical technologies that have helped to expose the political nature of death by calling into question the time of death and who decides it. As the line between life and death has become more and more indistinct, Giorgio Agamben has argued that bio-politics turns into “thanatopolitics”—a politics of death. As Agamben argues, death is not a biological moment but a political decision. In this study I will focus specifically on reconsidering the relations of power surrounding the decision to stop preserving life in the particular space of the hospital room. I will then attempt to consider how our exposure to death in this space of power might be resisted using both the insights of Foucault and Agamben.
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