Gentili aims to identify and analyze the so-called “dispositif of crisis” starting from the ancient Greek conception of krisis in the fields of medicine and politics. The medical meaning of the term “crisis” was prevalent until modernity (see the entry “Crise” in Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie), and it is also present in Marx and Engels’s theory of capitalist crises. On the strength of the biopolitical genealogy of crisis, Gentili argues that the diffusion and pervasiveness of the term “crisis” are not at all signs of semantic “vagueness,” as Reinhart Koselleck affirms, but rather denote the highest effectiveness of its dispositif, which is apparent nowadays, when the crisis has become the dispositif of the neoliberal art of government. As a matter of fact, according to Michel Foucault, the neoliberal art of government presents itself not as the best form of government but as the only one. The nature of each crisis has set a specific concept and practice of conflict and, therefore, a specific process of political subjectification. Unlike in the past, today the predominant dispositif of crisis has a manifest biopolitical nature, and so it implies neoliberalism’s axiom that “there is no alternative” and therefore tends to neutralize the conflict and to marginalize in precariousness the forms of life that could be a constituent expression of it.
Gentili, D. (2020). Crisis as Art of Government, Precariat as Form of Life. KRONOS, IX, 114-127.