Gellner’s genealogy of the open society: Biopolitics as fragment and remainder

Thesis Eleven 128 (1):113-125 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

A decade before Foucault began to work with the related concepts of biopolitics and biopower, Gellner posed a series of questions which are suggestive of a similar line of inquiry. Gellner did not pursue this strand of his thought as an historical sociologist however. Instead he packaged it into a functionalist account of how industrial society reproduces itself. In Gellner’s writings, biopolitics is both present and absent, like a redacted text. This is the focus of this article, which locates Gellner’s method of inquiry within a corpus of genealogical studies that includes the work of Polanyi, Weber and Foucault. What distinguishes Gellner is that the history he reconstructs is a story of achievement in the face of terrible historical odds, but this culminates in a normative genealogy that limits the scope for critical analysis. The article concludes by adopting an alternative – yet still Gellnerian – approach to the question of social reproduction, thereby using Gellner to critique Gellner.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,991

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Once more and for the last time.Krishan Kumar - 2015 - Thesis Eleven 128 (1):72-84.
Assessing Gellner.Miriam Farhi-Rodrig - 2012 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (2):287-311.
Ernest Gellner’s Use of the Social Sciences in Philosophy.Stefan Schubert - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (1):3-22.
10 Gellner's metaphysic.John A. Hall - 2007 - In Siniša Malešević & Mark Haugaard (eds.), Ernest Gellner and Contemporary Social Thought. Cambridge University Press. pp. 253.
5 Nationalism: restructuring Gellner's theory.Nicos Mouzelis - 2007 - In Siniša Malešević & Mark Haugaard (eds.), Ernest Gellner and Contemporary Social Thought. Cambridge University Press. pp. 125.
After ideocracy and civil society.Chris Hann - 2015 - Thesis Eleven 128 (1):41-55.
Ernest Gellner and contemporary social thought.Siniša Malešević & Mark Haugaard (eds.) - 2007 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-09-03

Downloads
24 (#677,847)

6 months
4 (#862,849)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Subject and Power.Michel Foucault - 1982 - Critical Inquiry 8 (4):777-795.
Thought and change.Ernest Gellner - 1964 - [Chicago]: University of Chicago Press.
Irish Industrial Schools, 1868-1908: Origins and Development.Jane Barnes - 1990 - British Journal of Educational Studies 38 (1):95-95.

Add more references