Engaging four key concepts – Cell, Self, System and Sovereignty – The Politics of Immunity: Security and the Policing of Bodies (2023) by Mark Neocleous moves from philosophical biology to intellectual history and from critical theory to psychoanalysis to expose the politics underpinning the way immunity is imagined. At the heart of this imagination is the way security has come to dominate the whole realm of human experience. From biological cell to political subject, and from physiological system to the social body, immunity folds into security, just as security folds into immunity.
Mark Neocleous is a critical theorist who focuses on questions of state and capital, especially as they pertain to police, security and war. Mark has an interest in the political imagination, especially concerning bodies, monstrosity, subjectivity and death. He is currently working on a collectively-authored book called The Security Abolition Manifesto.
‘The Politics of Immunity:
Security and the Policing of Bodies
by Mark Neocleous
5th December, 18:00 - 21:00
We invite you to an experimental reading session: let’s read together, dissect and discuss how the text relates to our own experience as well as the current geopolitical situation, and explore how its words resonate in our bodies through somatic exercises.
Warm tea and drinks will be provided. No previous reading is necessary but encouraged. Mark can not be present but kindly grants us access to his work. The text is in English. You can download the text excerpt here:
We will read passages of the introduction, tracing the historical development of the body as an imaginary for sovereignty. Part of this political, philosophical, and legal fiction is the health of the social body. Throughout history up to the present, this image has been used by bourgeois democracy and right-wing political movements to justify violence and even genocide as social hygiene. The book thus opens our conversation into a critique of the paradigm of security and spells out immunity’s tendency towards self-destruction and death.
Together we want to explore how immunity has become a charged political concept in our reality today. By understanding the reciprocal relationship between biology and law, we want to explore the limits and dangers of the body politic.