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Rights of passage: law and the biopolitics of dying

Hanafin, Patrick (2009) Rights of passage: law and the biopolitics of dying. In: Braidotti, R. and Colebrook, C. and Hanafin, Patrick (eds.) Deleuze and Law: Forensic Futures. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan Publishers Limited, pp. 47-58. ISBN 9780230210172.


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Deleuze and Law: Forensic Futures explores the relation between law and life and the advent of a politics of 'life'. How have recent events focused social, political and cultural attention on the living body and its maintenance and management? The central concept, through which the embodiment of the subject will be examined will be that of 'bio-power'. Articulated by Michel Foucault, but brought to attention more recently in the work of Giorgio Agamben, this concept recognises that the relation between life and law is both historical and necessary: the law must operate on bodies but can only do so by establishing a border between the body of the polity, and the mere life excepted from political concern. The contemporary advent of bio-politics occurs when the polity increasingly and invasively operates on this 'mere' life, and the body or organism – rather than the self – becomes the object of political management. The manner in which the body becomes the focus of contemporary power has led legal theory to explore new questions of the threshold between life and death and has led social theory to question the new extensions of the law and the polity into embodied life. The contributors explore the forensic shift in contemporary social theory and cultural sensibility from a number of perspectives. Description of book from publisher website at:

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Hanafin, Patrick; Rights of passage: law and the biopolitics of dying. In: Braidotti, Rosi; Colebrook, Claire and Hanafin, Patrick (eds.) Deleuze and Law: Forensic Futures. (2009). Macmillan Publishers Limited. Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive version of this piece may be found in Deleuze and Law edited by Rosi Braidotti, Claire Colebrook and Patrick Hanafin which can be purchased from
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Law
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2009 15:43
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

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