Terms of the Political: Community, Immunity, Biopolitics presents a decade of thought about the origins and possibilities of political theory from one of contemporary Italy’s most prolific and engaging political theorists, Roberto Esposito. He has coined a number of critical concepts in current debates about the past, present, and future of biopolitics—from his work on the implications of the etymological and philosophical kinship of community (communitas) and immunity (immunitas) to his theorizations of the impolitical and the impersonal.
Taking on interlocutors from throughout the Western philosophical tradition, from Aristotle and Augustine to Weil, Arendt, Nancy, Foucault, and Agamben, Esposito announces the eclipse of a modern political lexicon—“freedom,” “democracy,” “sovereignty,” and “law”—that, in its attempt to protect human life, has so often produced its opposite (violence, melancholy, and death). Terms of the Political calls for the opening of political thought toward a resignification of these and other operative terms—such as “community,” “immunity,” “biopolitics,” and “the impersonal”—in ways that affirm rather than negate life.
An invaluable introduction to the breadth and rigor of Esposito’s thought, the book will also welcome readers already familiar with Esposito’s characteristic skill in overturning and breaking open the language of politics.
Against philosophies of history and for history as thought—this is the break from which Esposito's work wagers an enterprise of deconstruction (of all conceptions of the political up to now) in the name of a new understanding of freedom: between community and immunity, beyond liberalism, beyond the rational animal. He calls it an affirmation of biopolitics, affirmative biopolitics—not for a new inception of the social, but for a redistribution of the energy of thought at the service of another practice of life.
Texas A&M University