Victorian novelists were the first to confront the problem of the relationship between themselves as individuals and what Michel Foucault calls “man-as-species” or “population.” This is a problem for theorists of liberal democracy as well. In his 1975–76 lectures at the Collège de France, the English translation titled “Society Must Be Defended,” Foucault offers his most comprehensive explanation as to why the disciplinary procedures aimed at producing self-governing individuals required supplementary policies that dealt with the population at large and so gave rise during the nineteenth century to a body of semiofficial policies that form the basis of a new form of government: biopolitics. Even here, however, he stops short of acknowledging the difficulty of articulating the subject presupposed by liberal societies to the object of biopower he elsewhere calls “population.” I show how gender simultaneously exposes the biological continuity underlying these different models of collectivity and transforms that continuity into difference.
Skip Nav Destination
Nancy Armstrong; Gender Must Be Defended. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2012; 111 (3): 529–547. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1596263
Download citation file: