PART THREE: The Camp As Biopolitical Paradigm of the Modern


Chapter 4: ‘Politics, or Giving Form to the Life of a People

Keywords: possession of the state, territory, material wealth, living wealth, economy of human values, eugenics, race, genetic, heredity, hermeneutics, facticity, contingency, fallenness


  • In 1942 the book State and Health in an effort to bring order to the topic of the political value of biological life and the transformation or the political horizon, stated that “large conflicts between peoples were more or less caused by the necessity of guaranteeing the possessions of the State. The threat that neighboring States might expand territorially has thus often been the cause of conflicts in which individuals, considered so to speak as means to achieve the desired goals, were ignored.”
  • A combination of biology and economy came to exist with the establishment of a budget to account for the living value of people and the consideration of the care for the biological body of the nation.
  • The meaning and responsibilities of medicine changed and became integrated in the state’s functions and the level of the people’s health became a condition for financial gain.
  • Eugenics, as science of a people’s genetic heredity, dictates the principles of this new biopolitics.
  • In the era of Nazism, race was decided to be nothing but hereditary and was defined as a group of human beings manifesting a particular combination of homozygotic genes that other groups lack.
  • Politics have the negative task of fighting against the external and internal enemies of the State while police have the positive task of caring for the citizens’ life.



  • The novelty of modern biopolitics lies in the fact that the biopolitical given is as such immediately the biological given. The life that had become the ground for sovereignty with the declaration of rights, becomes now the subject-object of state politics.
  • When life and politics start to become one instead of being divided and simply linked by the state of exception that is the bare life, then all life becomes sacred and all politics become the exception.




  • Verfallerheit: fallenness, characteristic of being that has to be its own ways of Being.
  • Man is not a living being who must overcome himself in order to become human, he is not a bipolar of body and spirit, politics and nature rather he resides exactly at the point where those merge and become indistinct.


Chapter 5: VP

Keywords: VP – versuchspersonen, human guinea pig, sadocriminal acts, hypocrisy


I just buried my cat Gismo… One of my closest companions of the past two and a half years, one of my loves. He was killed by four dogs. I do not understand who would train their dog to be a killer. But all this about HOMO SACER is a load of crap compared to actually losing someone. And to the suffering of a being so sweet and innocent who had no idea why he was being killed. He was not sacrificed and no one will be punished for his death. He is for me the ultimate Homo Sacer. The one that is not only killed but can never understand why, did nothing to deserve it and can never escape… I will finish now what I started here by just quoting what I feel is important from the following chapters. If I have some personal thoughts I will share them. I will do what I have to do while I am still numb. And I apologize in advance for the inadequacy of it…


  • At the Nuremberg trials, the experiments conducted by German physicians and scientists in the concentration camps were universally taken to be one of the most infamous chapters in the history of the National Socialist regime.
  • What is even more disquieting is that experiments on prisoners and persons sentenced to death had been performed on a large scale before and particularly in the United States, the very country of most of the Nuremberg judges!
  • The criterion considered necessary was the full consent of the subjects (for the Chicago prisoners of one of the experiments) , a highly hypocritical  thing considering that the extent to which someone sentenced to death can have free will and consent is debatable…
  • Comparing the experiments of prisons however to those of the Nazi camps we see that while in the first case they were trying to fight against misery and death caused by the natural order while in the second case they worked to maintain and justify cruelty.
  • The VP’s were people sentenced to death or detained in camps, both of which meant exclusion from the political community. They were homini sacres, deprived of most of the rights and expectations attributed to human existence and yet still biologically alive, they were in the twilight zone between life and death, they were bare life.


Chapter 6: Politicizing Death

Keywords: coma, coma depasse, survival, life support, transplant, brain death, systemic death, somatic death, heart failure, epiphenomenon, neomorts, faux vivant.


  • Coma depasse – overcoma: a stage of life beyond the cessation of all vital funcitons. It renders obsolete the stopping of the heartbeat and the cessation of breathing as criteria for establishing death. It is a state between life and death that demands new definitions for death. This necessity is rendered even more strong my the improvement of transplant technologies and the need to be sure of death before cutting someone open to remove their organs and at the same time keeping them alive long enough for the organs to be viable.
  • Life and death are not just scientific concepts but also political concepts, which as such aquire a political meaning only through a decision.
  • The borders have become biopolitical and because of this are moving and the exercise of sovereign power now passes through them more than ever and cuts across the medical and biological sciences.
  • We therefore have two suggested states of the body: that of the neomort, maintaining some characteristics of life for the sake of future transplant yet with the legal status of a corpse and that of the faux vivant, a body kept alive by life support on which, based on the status of brain death, one can intervene without reservations.
  • So between those two states we have a space of exception in which purely bare life is controlled by man for the first time, giving us the ultimate homo sacer.


Chapter 7: The Camp as the ‘Nomos’ of the Modern

Keywords: camp, condition inhumana, protective custody (schutzhaft), good morals, proper initiative, public order, state of danger, case of necessity

  • The camp is simply a place in which the most absolute condition inhumana that has ever existed on earth is realized.
  • Individuals are taken into custody independently of criminal behavior, simply to avoid danger to the security of the state. It becomes a state of exception that is no longer referred to as an external and provisional state of factual danger and starts to be confused with juridical rule itself.
  • The camp is the state of exception that is opened when the state of exception begins to become the rule; it is now given spatial arrangement, is no longer only a temporary suspension of the rule of law based on a factual state of danger but still remaining outside the normal order.
  • The camp is the structure in which the state of exception is realized normally. It is a hybrid of law and fact where the two terms have become indistinguishable.
  • It is the space of impossibility of deciding between fact and law, rule and application, exception and rule, which decides between them anyway,


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