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The Remerging Foundations of a Biopolitical Science

Kenneth C. Blanchard Jr. (Northern State University, USA)

Biopolitics at 50 Years

ISBN: 978-1-80262-108-2, eISBN: 978-1-80262-107-5

Publication date: 21 November 2022


Aristotle's Politics provides an example of what a biopolitical science might look like. Three key elements stand out: (1) an account of political structure as a multilevel society including kin and non-kin relationships; (2) an account of the human species that includes comparison with other social species that are capable of coordinated action; and (3) an emphasis on the human capacity to understand and communicate moral rules. Over the last 50 years, a number of research programs in evolutionary anthropology have provided the basis for a biopolitical science that maps onto the elements above. Schultz, Opie, and Atkinson describe the trajectory of human evolution from solitary to a pair bonded, familial species. Michael Tomasello's two-step account of the evolution of human cooperation shows how the ancestral humans went from merely gregarious to genuinely political animals. Christopher Boehm shows how the human capacity for moral emotions and decision making by consensus developed. Richard Wrangham provides evidence that the suppression of reactive aggression by ancestral human societies resulted in a self-domesticated species, a process that enhanced the human capacity for cooperation and communication. Bernard Chapais argued that the emergence of pair bonding among ancestral humans laid the foundation for both consanguineal and affinal kinship structures. That these bodies of research hold together can best be seen when they are viewed in light of Aristotle's biopolitical science.



Blanchard, K.C. (2022), "The Remerging Foundations of a Biopolitical Science", Wohlers, T. and Fletcher, A. (Ed.) Biopolitics at 50 Years (Research in Biopolitics, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 47-66.



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Copyright © 2023 Kenneth C. Blanchard, Jr. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited