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Might the critique of sovereignty begun by Foucault, Agamben and Derrida unwittingly have resuscitated sovereignty instead? This chapter pursues this inquiry by recovering the symbolic potential of biology that theories of biopolitics have dismissed as a veil for sovereign power. What would happen, this chapter asks, if we read the biological not just as a concealment for the normative basis of biopower, but as its own plastic symbolic system? Might we then, finally, be in a position to orient our political theories beyond any vestiges of sovereignty?

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