Biopolitics and the Birth of Camp: The Formation of “Bare Life” in Edward Bond’s Born

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English Language and Literature, of English, Imam Sadiq (pbuh) University, Tehran, Iran


Edward Bond is among those contemporary British playwrights who stage the influence of late capitalism on contemporary society and the individual’s social life. Bond’s work depicts the ways in which late capitalism and its components, including rampant technology and gratuitous bureaucracy, intrude into people’s lifeworld. Such impingements result in the impoverishment of social welfare, the impairment of human relations, and the escalation of violence in society. Bond effectively portrays the capitalist society as a camp inhabited by the walking dead. In Born (2006), he presents an apocalyptic, violent society within which posthumous bodies wander. Comparable to Bond’s views, in his archeology of the Western bio-politics, the Italian sociologist Giorgio Agamben utilizes the two concepts of “camp” and “broken bodies” in order to argue that Western governments from Ancient Greece to present time have seized the biological life (zoe) of citizens and politicized it within the polis according to the political exigencies. Accordingly, employing Agamben’s ideas about the formation of bio-politics, this paper examines the concepts of “bare life” and “camp” in Born so as to demonstrate how Bond’s play regards the biopolitical mechanisms of Western governments as the key factor in the generation of “bare life” within the global community.


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