Green Biopolitics and the Administration of "Reformed Life"
In this paper I support my suggestion of a new category of theoretical/analytical inquiry called 'green biopolitics', which I believe has much relevance for the analysis of governance concerning the transformative potentialities of genetic engineering, as well as traditional areas of ecopolitics. In this paper my focus is on genetic engineering, where 'green biopolitics' can be seen to fit in the intersection of two main understandings of 'biopolitics' The first usage of the term 'biopolitics' refers to the new public policy area of biotechnology policy which has co-evolved with the development of the life sciences to refer to transformations in medicine and health, or in food, agriculture and the environment. Here, biopolitical analysis is predominantly on biotechnology regulation and bioscientific-technological development. In turn, the second usage of 'biopolitics' refers to the historical tradition of Foucauldian inquiry, which describes and analyses two forms of control and administration (the 'art of government') that emerged from the sixteenth century onwards. The first form concerns the disciplining, especially through institutionalisation, of individuals, or collections of individuals, for their usefulness (or performance) for integration into systems of 'efficient and economic controls'. The second form is concerned with 'administering' the biological processes and resources (or subjugation and control) of the species body or populations in general: namely their bodies, and reproduction, to achieve their productive engagement in what Foucault calls the investment of the body of the population and its valorization. My line of reasoning for suggesting/nominating a 'green biopolitics' will be to approach the subject through two interrelated parts: one focused on theory and argument, and the second focused on practice as it has occurred in the administration of 'reformed', or genetically engineered, life in Australia, with my main focus on the environmental release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and on my notion of 'regulatory legitimisers', which I cast as political technologies to enrol and discipline populations to a biotechnological futurenatural.
Transforming Environmental Governance for the 21st Century: Ecopolitics XVI