“El hombre no es libre en la naturaleza”: Justo Sierra and the Persistence of Sovereign Power

  • Brian Whitener University of Michigan
Keywords Michel Foucault, biopolitics, power, liberalism, sovereignity, justo sierra


In The Birth of Biopolitics and Society Must be Defended, Michel Foucault explores European liberalism in the nineteenth century as undergoing a transition between sovereign and biopolitical power. In this essay, I read Foucault's thought in the context of the transformation of Mexican liberalism in the late nineteenth century in order to develop an explanation for the persistence of sovereign power in Mexico. Through readings of Mexican thinker and the “Maestro de América” ​​Justo Sierra, this essay attempts to locate the roots of on-going state-sponsored forms of violence in the critical period of the late nineteenth century.

Author Biography

Brian Whitener, University of Michigan

Brian Whitener is writing a dissertation on the rise of finance in Latin America. Recent projects include De gente común: Arte, política y rebeldía social (Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, forthcoming), The Unreal, Silver-Plated Book (Departamento de Ficción), and Genocide in the Neighborhood (ChainLinks).

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