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The term "biopolitics" or "biopolitical" can refer to several different yet compatible concepts.


  1. In the work of Michel Foucault, the style of government that regulates populations through biopower (the application and impact of political power on all aspects of human life).
  2. In the works of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, anti-capitalist insurrection using life and the body as weapons; examples include flight from power and, 'in its most tragic and revolting form', suicide terrorism. Conceptualised as the opposite of biopower, which is seen as the practice of sovereignty in biopolitical conditions.
  3. The political application of bioethics.
  4. A political spectrum that reflects positions towards the sociopolitical consequences of the biotech revolution.
  5. Political advocacy in support of, or in opposition to, some applications of biotechnology.
  6. Public policies regarding some applications of biotechnology.
  7. Political advocacy concerned with the welfare of all forms of life.

Politics and the life sciences

As a field of the academic discipline of political science, biopolitics is also known as "politics and the life sciences". The Association for Politics and the Life Sciences was formed in 1981 and exists to study the field of biopolitics as a subfield of political science. APLS owns and publishes an academic peer-reviewed journal called Politics and the Life Sciences (PLS). The journal is edited in the United Statesmarker at the University of Maryland, College Parkmarker’s School of Public Policy, in Marylandmarker.

The Department of Political Science at Northern Illinois Universitymarker offers undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of politics and the life sciences. It is the only political science department in the U.S. to offer politics and the life sciences as a graduate field of study.


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