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Foucault’s Biopolitics and Agamben’s State of Exception Essay

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The Canadian identity has changed through the years from the makeup of ethnicities, culture and values but all these changes are kept within a normative standard. The state has a stake in minimising conflict and diversity at the expense of the minority. Political writers theorise on the motive for government actions with the two primary theories being Foucault’s “biopolitics” and Agamben’s “state of exception”. Biopolitics stresses the importance of biology and how the government seeks to protect life rather than condemn, creating an effective and optimised population for capitalism. The state of exception focuses on the state consolidating power during perceived times of need, often at the expense of civil liberties. Using both these theories, the events described in this essay are explained by viewing the state acting in defense from minorities seeking change. The status quo refers to the Canadian state maintaining the normative majority on topics concerning diversity such as class, race, language, culture, sex, and gender among others. A biopolitical criteria means using those topics and judging the minority on their value. By illuminating the fundamental issues minorities face this essay will first contest multiculturalism is an imagined projection by Canadians as the state actions are intolerant to diversity. This will be proven by going through various instances of Canadian, European and American history to find inconsistencies contrary to the openness and diversity many Canadians believe. As the second argument of my paper I will dissect how the state governs with a normativity standard, selectively crafting the Canadian identity. This dissection of the state will prove the biopolitical criteria used by the state...


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Lawerence, Bonita, and Enakhsi Dua. "Decolonizing Antiracism." Social Justice 32.4 (2005): 120-143. Print.
Monture, Patricia. "Standing Against Canadian Law: Naming Omissions of Race, Culture, and Gender." Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence 2.1 (1998): 7-30. Print.
Osterlund, Katherine. "Love, Freedom, and Governance: Same-Sex Marriage in Canada." Social & Legal Studies 18.1 (2009): 93-109. Print.
Titchkosky, Tanya. "Governing Embodiment." The Canadian Journal of Sociology 28.4 (2003): 517-542. Print.
Vukov, Tamara. "Imagining Communities through Immigration Policies." International Journal of Cultural Studies 6.3 (2003): 335-353. Print.



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