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Law, Ethics and the Biopolitical explores the emerging consensus that legal authority is no longer related to national sovereignty but to the common good of a political community and the ‘moral’ attempt to nurture life.
The waning legitimacy of sovereignty has signalled the renewal of a version of natural law that de-emphasises the idea of a divine law-giver, in favour of an Aristotelian conception of human flourishing as the ‘common good’. And, whilst the relationship between law and ethics has long been a central concern in legal studies, now it is the relationship between law and life that has become crucial.
Synthesizing elements of Anglo-American legal scholarship on sovereignty, theories of biopolitics and biopower, as well as recent developments in the domains of ethics, Amy Swiffen examines the invocation of ‘life’ as a foundation for legal authority.
The definition of life as naturally driven to survive is not, she argues, the morally neutral limit it might appear to be. And, critically analysing the fundamental principles of the bioethical paradigm, Law, Ethics and the Biopolitical documents the connection between the bioethical good - life - and a specific form of law and of biopolitical power.