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The Biopolitics of Intellectual Property
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Book description

As a central part of the regulation of contemporary economies, intellectual property (IP) is central to all aspects of our lives. It matters for the works we create, the brands we identify and the medicines we consume. But if IP is power, what kind of power is it, and what does it do? Building on the work of Michel Foucault, Gordon Hull examines different ways of understanding power in copyright, trademark and patent policy: as law, as promotion of public welfare, and as promotion of neoliberal privatization. He argues that intellectual property policy is moving toward neoliberalism, even as that move is broadly contested in everything from resistance movements to Supreme Court decisions. This work should be read by anyone interested in understanding why the struggle to conceptualize IP matters.


'Tracing the shifting logic of intellectual property over the centuries, Gordon Hull demonstrates that neoliberalism is less concerned with markets or freedom than it is with the economization of everyday life. This groundbreaking genealogy combines Foucauldian theory of biopower with a rich empirical analysis to illuminate how norms and technologies of ownership are now at stake in the shaping of our very subjectivity.'

William Davies - Goldsmiths, University of London and author of The Limits of Neoliberalism

'A fascinating and richly detailed examination of contested and changing conceptions of intellectual property in the context of shifting regimes of biopower. A must-read for anyone interested in biopolitics and American law.'

Ladelle McWhorter - University of Richmond and author of Racism and Sexual Oppression in Anglo-America

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