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The Biopolitics of the War on TerrorLife Struggles, Liberal Modernity and the Defence of Logistical Societies$
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Julian Reid

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074059

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074059.001.0001

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Logistical life: war, discipline, and the martial origins of liberal societies

Logistical life: war, discipline, and the martial origins of liberal societies

(p.17) 2 Logistical life: war, discipline, and the martial origins of liberal societies
The Biopolitics of the War on Terror

Julian Reid

Manchester University Press

This chapter details Foucault's own neglected account of the origins of modern forms of disciplinary and biopolitical forms of power in the development of the military sciences of organisation. It draws on Foucault to demonstrate how liberal regimes of governance emerged during the eighteenth century in response to the challenge of how to overcome the problem of war within society; how that challenge led liberal regimes to develop unprecedented techniques with which to intervene upon and control the life of societies in the production of ways of living believed to be compatible with peace. And yet how, in turn, the development of such techniques of pacification has functioned historically to exacerbate the problem of war inter-socially in ways that are especially pertinent today. In order to remove the problem of war from society, liberal regimes set about making the life of their societies into so-called logistical life. Logistical life is a life lived under the duress of the command to be efficient, to communicate one's purposes transparently in relation to others, to be positioned where one is required, to use time economically, to be able to move when and where one is told to, and crucially, to be able to extol these capacities as the values which one would willingly, if called upon, kill and die for.

Keywords:   Foucault, power, liberal regimes, governance, logistical life

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