Biopolitics in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, “The Part About the Crimes”


  • Camelia Raghinaru Concordia University, Irvine


Parole chiave:

Roberto Bolaño, Ciudad Juárez, detective novel, biopolitics, state of exception, neoliberal capitalism


Starting from Agamben’s theories of state of exception, and sovereignty and subalternity, this article looks at Roberto Bolaño’s 2004 novel, 2666, as a critique of neoliberal capitalism, where the law is predicated on violence and exploitation of surplus humanity—in this case, the poor female maquiladora workers at the U.S./Mexico border. Narco-trafficking and misogyny are symptomatic of a juridical and economic order that revolves around exploitation as central to the workings of transnational capitalism. As the boundary between legality and illegality breaks down, an aporetic state of exception forms, in which the transnational corporation acts as sovereign power by introducing a space of exception in the law. This force of law without law obscures the politicization of bare life, while maintaining traditional means of exploitation. The maquiladora workers emerge as docile bodies imprinted by the biopolitical power of sovereign financial capital. Powerless victims of overwork, displacement, destitution, and ultimately rape and slaughter, they objectify the violence of low wage labour in the global exchange of power and capital.  

Biografia autore

Camelia Raghinaru, Concordia University, Irvine

Camelia Raghinaru holds a PhD in English from the University of Florida, and she
currently works as an Assistant Professor of English at Concordia University, Irvine. Her
research interests focus on utopian studies, modernism, and popular culture. Her
articles on Conrad, Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, and Bréton have been published in various
academic journals (Studies in the Novel, [sic], Forum, etc.) and edited collections (Great
War Modernism and Critical Approaches to Joseph Conrad). Currently she works on two
articles dealing with the shift from Victorianism to modernism in Joseph Conrad and
popular modernisms in recent TV shows.




Come citare

Raghinaru, Camelia. 2016. «Biopolitics in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, “The Part About the Crimes”». Altre Modernità, n. 15 (maggio):146-62.