Government policies have a considerable impact on the reproductive choices and decisions of people. This brings into sharp focus the concept of bio-power. There are three fundamental elements of bio-power; namely, knowledge of vital life processes, power relations that consider man as a living being as their object, and the modes of subjectification through which the subjects work on themselves as living beings.
The significance and indeed the possibility of the entry of genomic knowledge into the bio-political field must be situated within the shifting territorialization both beyond and across nation states ñ trans-national flows of knowledge are coupled with local intensifications of research sites, and with supra-national institutions from the European Union to the World Health Organization. Variable mobilizations of persons, tissues, organs and pathogens interact with the slower mobilizations of therapeutics such as generic drugs for the treatment of AIDS.
Parallel motions can be identified on the level of subjectifications: cystic fibrosis groups cut across national and class barriers as do their care givers; models of patient activism spread, and are taken up and reinterpreted form Japan to Bangladesh, and from Turn to Toronto. It is important to underline that these processes are both individualizing and collectivizing. Who, in 1955, could have imagined depressed people as a global category, not only as targets but also as active subjects in a new bio-politics of mental health?
To carry out these mappings of the possibilities opened up in this seemingly novel formation of bio-power is not to ignore the negatives ñ the machinations of international capital, the hyped up marketing strategies of “big pharma”, the new entanglements between truth, health and profit that characterize the relations between researchers and industry as well as the implications of intellectual property for older forms of knowledge production, the possibilities of pathogenic release with wide scale effect, the massive inequalities in access to even basic healthcare, the more traditional forms of geopolitics which will make use of these new bio possibilities in all sorts of inventive and often reprehensible ways.
That said, if in fact we are in an emergent moment of vital politics, celebration or denunciation is insufficient as analytical approaches. One of the most pressing demands for critical thought today is the invention, enlargement and testing of an analytical toolkit adequate to the present reality. Bio-power, used in a precise fashion, and subject to inventive development, would surely take its place as a key part of such a toolkit.
This is evident in the movie All of Us. The reproductive options and decisions made by the characters are influenced by government policies. For example, Robert shares custody of his son with his ex-wife, and for this reason, he has to maintain a friendly relationship with her as they raise their son (All of Us, 2003). When the relationship between Robert and Tia, his new fiancée, breaks, the ex-wife has to move in with him. This is the influence of government policies which may require both partners to care for the child. Many other factors also come into play. These include the availability of health facilities, favorable health schemes among others. Therefore, government policies ultimately affect the reproductive options and decisions made by individuals.