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Title: Biopolitics and the British Empire : Giorgio Agamben's 'Homo Sacer' and the 'Criminal Tribes' of British India
Author: Whittall, Arthur Craig
ISNI:       0000 0005 0286 1549
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2020
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The thesis examines the ‘Criminal Tribes’ system of British India through an Agambenian biopolitical frame. This project aims to make an expansive contribution to the study of Agamben’s biopolitics as a political theory of original and continuing value by showing its ability to deliver unique insights into the detailed empirical case study it undertakes. It also aims to further develop the historical examination of the Criminal Tribes system of British India, using Agamben’s work at a deeper level of theoretical sophistication than existing historical treatments permit. This thesis contributes to the development of both the historical and the political theory literature on the biopolitics of colonial modernity. The project builds an analytical model that can identify a ‘common core’ of concerns shared by theorists of biopolitics, and subsequently identify those characteristics that make Agamben’s own concept of biopolitics thoroughly distinctive. Both models - the general biopolitical one, and the specifically Agambenian one - will be applied to the Criminal Tribes case study in order to demonstrate (1) that the Criminal Tribes system is amenable to a biopolitical reading; (2) that a specifically Agamben-derived biopolitics provides a clearer and more coherent account of the distinctive elements of this system than a general biopolitical model; and (3) that conditions theorised by Agamben as typical of European biopolitics can be originally traced back to the material and political conditions of European colonial modernity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available