The Biopolitics of Race

The Biopolitics of Race : State Racism and U.S. Immigration

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Many political figures insist that their anti-immigration sentiments have nothing to do with race and racism. Americans seem largely unconvinced, which is why politicians must protest so loudly and often. In order to deflect accusations of racism, public figures evoke the neo-liberal principle that calls for protection of state health and resources. Yet contemporary philosophers such as Hanna Arendt, Michel Foucault, and Giorgio Agamben argue that neo-liberal ideology is racist. Sokthan Yeng applies their analysis to the debate over immigration policies to show that neo-liberalism not only recodes traditional racist rhetoric but also expands systemic racism. Politicians can say that their anti-immigration policies are meant to protect the nation's economy and strength. It is no coincidence, however, that the populations most affected by these regulations are ethnic and cultural minorities such as Mexican and Muslim immigrants. The analysis presented in The Biopolitics of Race will be valuable to philosophers and other scholars or students interested in critical race theory, feminism, and queer theory. It also has implications for anyone working in public health, bioethics, or migration more

Product details

  • Hardback | 188 pages
  • 157.48 x 218.44 x 17.78mm | 459.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739182234
  • 9780739182239
  • 2,163,001

Review quote

Drawing on Michel Foucault's work and its critical reception and uses, Sokthan Yeng's book offers a bold and persuasive account of the role that immigration policy and practices have played in the maintenance of the United States of America as a biopolitical state since the late nineteenth century. She deploys a range of philosophers and theorists to test and, generally, vindicate Foucault's claims about biopolitics, especially his claim that racism here is racism against the abnormal. Focused on different figures of the immigrant, her examinations of the history of immigration policy and practice show how ethnicity, sex and sexuality, religion, and other areas of human difference have been and continue to be racialized in terms of their abnormality. In this, she also offers a helpful contribution to understanding the way that intersections of such identities have been and continue to be used in the qualification of populations inside and outside the nation as normal or abnormal, healthy or pathological. Beyond its presentation of the immigrant as a major focus of problematization in the biopolitics of the United States, the book persuasively casts this as an echo of ancient Greek anxiety about the foreign woman, even if today such worries are extended and addressed through the politically correct discourses of neoliberalism. And in sketching out the ethical implications of its critical and historical work on the biopolitical subjectivities of immigration, the book suggests a valuable philosophical response to the continuing problems of immigration. -- Samuel R. Talcott, University of the Sciencesshow more

About Sokthan Yeng

Sokthan Yeng is assistant professor of philosophy at Adelphi more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: Immigration and the Modern Political State Chapter 2: The Problem of Immigration in the U.S. Chapter 3: State Racism and Neo-liberal Immigration Policies Chapter 4: Biologizing the Race of Terror Chapter 5: The Race of Sexual Degenerates Chapter 6: Racing Gender Conclusion: Immigrants as Indicators of Raceshow more