Biopolitics, immunity, and religion: a brief critical reading of Roberto Esposito

João Manuel Duque*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



In Western culture, it is possible to trace an archeology of the political as an effect of theological-political devices (essentially Christian-inspired). If we add to this the evolution of politics, in modern times, towards biopolitics, then this relationship focuses on very concrete topics. This is the case of the immunological process—from a personal, social, and philosophical perspective—thoroughly analyzed by the Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito. In the context of his philosophical immunology, the place of religion is mainly archaeological and is interpreted critically: either as an immunization mechanism that results in self-immunization, destroying what it intends to defend; or in another way, from a perspective closer to the Christian tradition, as a “theological–political machine”, based on the “person” device, which ends up giving rise to binarisms that dissolve themselves into the One, by the domain of one of the poles. This article aims to critically analyze his position on both aspects, proposing a reading close to his thought but which is, at the same time, somewhat different. This proposal is directly inspired by neither a binarian nor an immunological, but rather a “ternary” trinitarian theology. The originality of the article lies in evaluating the place of religion within Esposito’s philosophical immunology—which has not been worked on—as well as in a critical discussion on his interpretation either of religion or of some theological–political devices; this critical approach is based on an alternative reading of the same topics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Biopolitics
  • Philosophical immunology
  • Political theology
  • Community


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