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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biopolitics and Sexuality in 20th Century Latin American Dictatorships

  • Author(s): Phillips, Rose
  • Advisor(s): Legras, Horacio
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

The dictatorships of the Southern Cone implemented egregious neoliberal states in the late 20th century; the military regimes resorted to practices of torture, disappearance, and death to eliminate the political opposition. Drawing from Michel Foucault’s definition of biopolitics which establishes that modernity places the biological at the center of the political realm, I analyze how the new modalities of power excluded political activists, women, indigenous, and the indigent. Through the dissertation I demonstrate that the dictatorships and post-dictatorships were both guided by the same principles of biopolitics. An important element in the development of biopolitics was the deployment of sexuality; therefore I explore the relationship of patriarchy and authoritarianism in an effort to find forms of resistance. I develop my analysis through the works of Damiela Eltit, Luisa Valenzuela, Marco Bechis, Alonso Cueto, and Claudia Llosa; their representations trespass the boundaries of normative behaviors providing new forms of subjectivity.

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