Caroline Alphin presents an original exploration of biopolitics by examining it through the lens of cyberpunk science fiction.
Comprised of five chapters, Neoliberalism and Cyberpunk Science Fiction is guided by four central themes: biopolitics, intensification, resilience, and accelerationism. The first chapters examine the political possibilities of cyberpunk as a genre of science fiction and introduce one kind of neoliberal subject, the self-monitoring cyborg. These are individuals who join fitness/health tracking devices and applications to their body to "self-cultivate". Here, Alphin presents concrete examples of how fitness trackers are a strategy of neoliberal governmentality under the guise of self-cultivation. Moving away from Foucault’s biopolitics to themes of intensity and resilience, Alphin draws largely from William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, along with the film Blade Runner to problematize notions of neoliberal resilience. Alphin returns to biopolitics, intensity, and resilience, connecting these themes to accelerationism as she engages with biohacker discourses. Here she argues that a biohacker is, in part, an intensification of the self-monitoring cyborg and accelerationism is in the end another form of resilience.
Neoliberalism and Cyberpunk Science Fiction is an invaluable resource for those interested in security studies, political sociology, biopolitics, critical IR theory, political theory, cultural studies, and literary theory.