The violence and destruction hiding behind the obsession with
Our contemporary political condition
is obsessed with immunity. The immunity of bodies and the body
politic; personal immunity and herd immunity; how to immunize the
social system against breakdown. The obsession intensifies with every
new crisis and the mobilization of yet more powers of war and police,
from quarantine to border closures and from vaccination certificates
to immunological surveillance.
Engaging four key concepts with
enormous cultural weight – Cell, Self, System and Sovereignty –
ThePolitics of Immunity
moves from philosophical biology to intellectual history and from
critical theory to psychoanalysis to expose the politics underpinning
the way immunity is imagined. At the heart of this imagination is the
way security has come to dominate the whole realm of human
experience. From biological cell to political subject, and from
physiological system to the social body, immunity folds into
security, just as security folds into immunity. The book thus opens
into a critique of the violence of security and spells out immunity’s
tendency towards self-destruction and death: immunity, like security,
can turn its aggression inwards, into the autoimmune disorder.
Wide-ranging and polemical, ThePolitics of Immunity
lays down a major challenge to the ways in which the immunity of the
self and the social are imagined.