Deviance or Homo sacer? Foucault, Agamben and Foetal Diagnostics

Thorvald Sirnes
2005 Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research  
This article compares the perspectives of Foucault and Agamben on biopolitics. The dichotomy normality/deviance is central to Foucault's analyses of modern subjectivities, while the Sovereign/Homo sacer dichotomy has a similar position according to Agamben. Are modern subjectivities shaped by a disciplining power, operating through some rather stable and fixed standards and norms, or are they exposed to continuously defined states of exceptions, in which the moral and social order are declared
more » ... order are declared irrelevant and not valid? Agamben states that in modernity the distinction between the normal and the exception is fundamentally blurred, and therefore the normal human condition is to be held hostage to a sovereignty making pure, immanent decisions without any references to stable, recognizable criteria. Are we therefore inscribed into normality, producing ourselves in a machinic way, or are we exposed to complete uncertainty, stripping our social existence down to bare human life or the status of Homo sacer?
doi:10.1080/15017410500246053 fatcat:3fh5fwurmvgyrbl4rsernceoca