Towards Biopolitical Ecocriticism: The Example of the Manifeste pour les ‘produits’ de haute nécessité

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This article undertakes a cultural and political examination of the Manifeste pour les ‘produits’ de haute nécessité, a manifesto co-authored by a collective of leading Martiniquan cultural figures, including Patrick Chamoiseau and Édouard Glissant, in response to the general strikes of 2009 in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Réunion. These strikes focused metropolitan attention on the high cost of living or ‘la vie chère’. After a discussion of the aesthetics of the manifesto, with particular attention to the dichotomy it develops between le prosaïque and le poétique and the wider role of culture in challenging neo-liberalism’s global hold which is advanced by the Manifesto, this article introduces the new methodology of biopolitical ecocriticism. A biopolitical ecocritical reading of the manifesto, building on the biopolitical work of Foucault through reference to ecocriticism and the philosophical works of Edgar Morin and André Gorz, reveals the fundamental links between global governance and natural life, raising urgent questions about the relationship between language, life, the environment, history, and politics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrench Studies
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2016


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