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The Biopolitics of Stalinism

Ideology and Life in Soviet Socialism

Sergei Prozorov

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The first book to investigate Soviet socialism from a biopolitical perspective

Western theories of biopolitics focus on its liberal and fascist rationalities. In opposition to this, Stalinism was oriented more towards transforming life in accordance with the communist ideal, and less towards protecting it.

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1 Postcommunist Stalinism: The Resurrection of the Effective Manager
2 Stalinism in the Theory of Biopolitics: A Brief Genealogy of a Reticence
3 The Great Break: Making Socialism Real
4 High Stalinism: Retreat, Simulacrum, Terror
5 Deathly Life: The Subject of Stalinism
6 Shalamov, or the Negative Experience
7 A Real Renewal of Life: Towards an Affirmative Biopolitics

About the Author

Sergei Prozorov is Professor of Political Science at the University of Jyväskylä. He is the author of books including The Biopolitics of Stalinism (2016) and Agamben and Politics (2014), also published by Edinburgh University Press. He has published over 30 articles in major international journals. His research interests include political philosophy, theories of democracy and totalitarianism, biopolitics and governance.


A fascinating study. Prozorov is not only one of the most interesting scholars of 20th and 21st century Russia, but he’s able to engage with high theory in a readable and entertaining manner.

- Human Rights Centre, the University of Essex, Professor Bill Bowring

This book provides a mostly convincing case for its argument. Unlike traditional biopolitical theory, which views the biopolitical modes of Stalinism and of Western rationality as similar, Prozorov finds distinctions between those two modes. In addition, he identifies the link between the Stalinist biopolitical mode and the destiny of Stalinism. Prozorov makes valuable points, providing a new perspective on Stalinist biopolitics.

- Zhen Wei, University of Edinburgh, Europe-Asia Studies

The Biopolitics of Stalinism is as lucid and usable as it is theoretically innovative. It draws connections from current issues in Soviet Studies to ongoing debates in philosophy and the social sciences … The Biopolitics of Stalinism is a necessary book for any scholar looking for a new perspective on Stalinism and its aftermath. It also heralds the possibility of an anarchist critique of biopolitical regimes, including of the Soviet system.

- Ania Aizman, Harvard University, Slavic and East European Journal

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