In the nearly 20 years since Rabinow’s 1996 “Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality,” scholarly attention to biosociality and related concepts such as biological citizenship have expanded Foucault’s theories of biopolitics, updating them—as it were—for the 21st century. In this commentary, I explicate these “new biopolitical theories” and propose a schema for operationalizing them for deductive analyses in ethnographic research. I illustrate the way this schema may be applied with examples from an ethnographic study on autism in Italy. In doing so, I provide a model of new biopolitical theory that can be used in future projects in a variety of research settings and put scholarship on biosocialities and biological citizenships in more explicit conversation with each other. Such robust conversation will further scholarly understanding of biopolitics in general and of the local particularity of biologies, biomedicines, and politics that affect them.
- Biological citizenship
- Data analysis