The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Global Security Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Scott Romaniuk, Manish Thapa, Péter Marton


  • Dorottya MendlyEmail author
Living reference work entry


The notion of “biopolitics” is extremely popular in contemporary social science research. Popularity entails numerous rival conceptualizations and layers of meaning, as well as many exciting research agendas. This piece aims to introduce to readers the main areas in which the concept of “biopolitics” has been used in the past decades and to sketch the outlines of this diverse research agenda. In a more general sense, biopolitics refers to an intersectional field, at the frontier of biology and politics.

Biology means, according to its etymology, the study of life itself. This broad definition should first be narrowed, in this case, to the study of human life and more specifically the study of human life through the body. With the idea of biopolitics, an ancient question resurfaces: are humans inherently political? Aristotle, notably, imagined men as living beings with political capacities and treated questions of biological existence separately. This tradition then...


Body Health Demography Migration 
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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International RelationsCorvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary