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Abstract

In this short paper we analyse some paradoxical aspects of France’s Foucauldian heritage: (1) while several French scholars claim the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of what Foucault called biopolitics, popular reaction instead suggests a biopolitical failure on the part of the government; (2) One of these failures concerns the government’s inability to produce reliable biostatistical data, especially regarding health inequalities in relation to COVID-19. We interrogate whether Foucaldianism contributed, in the past as well today, towards a certain myopia in France regarding biostatistics and its relation to social inequalities in health. One might ask whether this very data could provide an appropriate response to the Foucauldian question: What kind of governance of life is the pandemic revealing to us?

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