Babylon and the Crisis of Sovereignty
Babylon is intriguing in the way that it is both loved and hated, often in tandem. Conflicting reactions to Babylon come through an original biblical ambivalence that has made it an excellent figure for representing and managing the centering and decentering tensions within global capitalism. This introduction provides an overview of the biblical texts as well as apocalyptic and orientalist interpretive traditions that crystallize into the culturally recognizable figure of Babylon. It then gives a sense of the wide prevalence and malleability of this image in U.S. culture, politics, and media, indicating the patterns of its appearance. Finally, it suggests that the Bible and Babylon help to shore up what Michel Foucault has called the biopolitics of liberal governmentality, which prioritize and promote the “subject of interest” over the “subject of right.” This move cultivates and striates populations beyond social contracts and boundaries of national sovereignty to facilitate the circulation of global capital in ways that both secure and threaten U.S. interests. It is precisely this predicament that allusions to Babylon try to manage.
Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.