BiocitizenshipThe Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power

BiocitizenshipThe Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power

Kelly E. Happe, Jenell Johnson, and Marina Levina

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781479845194

Publisher: NYU Press


This collection expands scholarly understandings of citizenship in an age in which the material body and its health, vitality, and natural and social environments not only create and discipline the citizen-subject, but also provide the conditions necessary for its recognition and political agency. Together, the chapters consider biocitizenship as a unique mode of biopolitical governance, but also as a response and sometimes a resistance to it. Looking closely at the ways in which the body and citizenship interanimate each other, the collection moves away from biocitizenship as a static form of biomedical subjectivity or category of belonging and redefines it as a dynamic and essential—sometimes generative, and sometimes limiting—element of biopolitics. The book has three primary goals: to serve as the first multidisciplinary forum on biocitizenship, bringing together a variety of voices from different fields (including voices from outside the academy); to redefine biocitizenship as a broad mode of political action linked to health, bodies, and life; and to critically interrogate both the “bio” and “citizenship” of biocitizenship.

Table of Contents

Front Matter


Jenell Johnson, Kelly E. Happe, and Marina Levina

Part I Categorical Understandings

1 Governing Sexual Health

Steven Epstein

2 Carceral Biocitizenship

Sarah Burgess and Stuart J. Murray

Part II Modes of Governance

4 Chronic Citizenship

Jeffrey A. Bennett

6 Exploiting Vulnerable Citizens

Carl Elliott and Emma Bedor Hiland

Part III Activism and Resistance

8 Biocitizenship on the Ground

Merlin Chowkwanyun

9 The Rise of Health Activism

Celia Roberts and Richard Tutton

10 Patient Activists

Heather Aspell, Julie Cerrone, and Kirsten Schultz

Part IV Beyond the Biocitizen

11 Nonhuman Biocitizens

Marina Levina

12 The Citizens of Incubators

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr

13 The Supra-Cyborg

Celeste M. Condit