Biopolitics has gained significant traction in the interpretative social sciences, particularly in terms of understanding how life is administered at various levels, from bodies to populations. This includes mechanisms of surveillance, securitization and discipline, as well as the enrollment and improvement of bodies so as to bring them into the ambit of economic productivity. But how do we account for quests to govern and regulate life outside of the model situated in European modernity, and do these qualify as biopolitical? In what ways might urban governance be re-envisioned as a hybrid of biopolitical and vernacular practices? What are the relations between biopower and capital, including the latter’s tendency to subsume life into the calculus of accumulation and, concomitantly, life’s capacities to exceed being placed in capital’s structure?
A critical engagement with biopolitics, including its limitations, runs through our work. This includes examining veterinary practices, histories of sanitation and public health, and the colonial and postcolonial imperatives of animal improvement. Biopolitics is interrogated differentially through different ecologies – the cultivated, feral and wild – as well as through specific locations whose trajectories of urbanization and regimes of governance vary.