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After corona – a technocratic, planetary order

The Revenge of the Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World
Forfatter: Benjamin Bratton
Forlag: Verso, (USA)
COVID-19: It's hard to read Bratton's positive biopolitics as anything other than a form of technocratic authoritarianism
- where the subject is a point in a biopolitical network.


The prolific American philosopher and media theorist Benjamin Bratton has written a book in which he attempts to learn from coronathe pandemic and the way states around the world handled the sudden spread of a new deadly flu virus in February 2020. As the title suggests – The Revenge of the Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World - Bratton understands Covid-19 as the real that emerges and takes revenge on a largely unprepared world. The book was written in the spring of 2021, so of course things are still evolving, but for Bratton a clear lesson is that Asian states like Taiwan, South Korea and partly China have managed to protect their populations far better than most countries in the West, not least United States and United Kingdom. Not least thanks to a different and much more comprehensive use of technology, Bratton writes. Asian countries have much more information about their citizens and have therefore managed to contain the virus much more effectively. It must have political consequences, says Bratton, who puts his trust in what he calls a "positive biopolitics", where states or better a supranational institution, a kind of world state, constantly collects data about its citizens, now conceptualized as points in a network , in order to deal with unforeseen events like a pandemic.

We must stop repeating insights from Western Marxism and French poststructuralism.

Bratton's coronaanalysis is an extension of the books The Stack (reviewed by Dominique Routhier in MODERN TIMES August 2016) og The new normal, where Bratton convincingly argues that there has been a shift in the way modern society. . .

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Mikkel Bolt
Professor of political aesthetics at the University of Copenhagen.

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