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Ronnie Lippens

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Deep Structures of Empire: A Note on Imperial Machines and Bodies

The article locates current neo-imperial imaginaries in a reconfiguration/re-imagining of the global “body politic.” Starting from Hobbes, and analyzing and situating the increasing use of biological metaphors to implicitly and explicitly represent the neoliberal state and reconfigure the problems it faces at the start of the 21st century, the author traces the emerging practices of the naturalization of dominant ideologies, practices, and beliefs, the reconfiguration of oppositional practices as challenges to the “natural” order, the re-imagining of deviance as disease (and the concomitant use of metaphors of drastic, invasive medical treatments to characterize responses to these challenges), and the implicit reassertion of dominant neoliberal discourse as natural and inevitable. This contribution expands on a current, subtle shift in the imaginary of Empire — a shift from the imagination of Empire as highly effortful, ever-unaccomplished engineering, to the imagination of Empire as accomplished nature. The relevance of this shift for matters and issues of regulation and control are outlined.

neoliberalism, Hobbes, neo-imperialism, the body politic, international relations

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 32, No. 1 (2005): 126-133.

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