Biopower, biopolitics and the Pandemic: A Case Study of COVID-19 Situation in Thailand

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Sumalee Mahanarongchai


This research article studies the concepts of biopower and biopolitics in their original meaning, significance and relation with each other in order to investigate whether there is the exertion of this form of power during the pandemic. The study focuses on Thai governmental strategies coping with COVID-19 situation in Thailand. The research reveals that since biopower evaluates human bodies in society as resources, or productive forces, propelling capitalization, the exertion of biopower can be quite clearly found during the pandemic when human bodies are viewed in existential danger. The biopower is exerted by regulating norms over lives than coercing lives under laws. This form of power makes the medical knowledge (including beliefs and opinions) become authority hard to challenge. The exertion of biopower through biopolitics can be done during the pandemic and the ordinary time. It has its own paradox which leads to immense but hidden, including positive and negative, impact on Thai people.      


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Mahanarongchai, S. (2020). Biopower, biopolitics and the Pandemic: A Case Study of COVID-19 Situation in Thailand. Journal of Anthropology, Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (JASAC), 3(2), 5-33. Retrieved from
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