We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Biopolitics and the British Empire: Giorgio Agamben's 'Homo Sacer' and the 'Criminal Tribes' of British India

WHITTALL, ARTHUR,CRAIG (2020) Biopolitics and the British Empire: Giorgio Agamben's 'Homo Sacer' and the 'Criminal Tribes' of British India. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Doctoral thesis) - Accepted Version


The thesis examines the ‘Criminal Tribes’ system of British India through an Agambenian biopolitical frame. This project aims to make an expansive contribution to the study of Agamben’s biopolitics as a political theory of original and continuing value by showing its ability to deliver unique insights into the detailed empirical case study it undertakes. It also aims to further develop the historical examination of the Criminal Tribes system of British India, using Agamben’s work at a deeper level of theoretical sophistication than existing historical treatments permit.

This thesis contributes to the development of both the historical and the political theory literature on the biopolitics of colonial modernity. The project builds an analytical model that can identify a ‘common core’ of concerns shared by theorists of biopolitics, and subsequently identify those characteristics that make Agamben’s own concept of biopolitics thoroughly distinctive.

Both models - the general biopolitical one, and the specifically Agambenian one - will be applied to the Criminal Tribes case study in order to demonstrate (1) that the Criminal Tribes system is amenable to a biopolitical reading; (2) that a specifically Agamben-derived biopolitics provides a clearer and more coherent account of the distinctive elements of this system than a general biopolitical model; and (3) that conditions theorised by Agamben as typical of European biopolitics can be originally traced back to the material and political conditions of European colonial modernity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Biopolitics, Agamben, Foucault, British Empire, Criminal Tribes, India
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Jan 2021 15:28

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter