Agamben's Theory of Biopower and Immigrants/Refugees/Asylum Seekers: Discourses of Citizenship and the Implications for Curriculum Theorizing


  • Michalinos Zembylas


In this essay I attempt to map the intersection between fearism and liberal/humanitarian discourses of citizenship and discuss the implications for curriculum theorizing.  Drawing on Agamben's analysis of biopower, this essay draws upon elements of Agamben's theory to highlight how liberal and humanitarian ideas to garner recognition on behalf of others risk perpetuating the logic of abandonment, which Agamben articulates in his theorization of bare life and the camp. Agamben's theory of biopower invokes a scrutinization of liberal and humanitarian perspectives in relation to issues of belonging, subjectivity, and inclusion/exclusion in citizenship education curricula. This interrogation suggests the need to form a different conceptual framework for citizenship education curricula"”one that recognizes the impact of fearism yet it moves beyond liberal and humanitarian discourses and provides opportunities for meaningful resistance to both fear and the disavowal of others.

Author Biography

Michalinos Zembylas

Michalinos Zembylas is Assistant Professor of Education at the Open University of Cyprus. His research interests are in the areas of educational philosophy and curriculum theory, and his work focuses on exploring the role of emotion in curriculum and pedagogy. He is particularly interested in how affective politics interest with issues of social justice pedagogies, interculrural and peace education, and citizenship education. Contact information: Michalinos Zembylas, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Open University of Cyprus, 5 Ayiou Antoniou str.,Strovolos 2002, Cyprus.