Invasion, Exile, and Resistance:

Milan Kundera’s Biopolitics in The Unbearable Lightness of Being




biopolitics, necropolitics, exile, invasion, resistance


In this essay, I explore how Milan Kundera in his novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, delineates the tyrannical biopolitics of a totalitarian state. I argue that the Soviet invasive biopolitics renders the Czech citizens alienated from their life, resources, and independence. Firstly, the obnoxious face of biopolitics manufactures exiles and fugitivity and, secondly, it destroys the dignity of an independent nation and turns it into a community of dissidents. Here, I build on Achille Mbembe’s theory of necropolitics, which in turn embarks on Michel Foucault’s concept of biopower or biopolitics. Mbembe critiques the racist, fascist, and nationalist forces that institutionalize the resurgence of “othering” a community to exclude it from the nation-state and kill it. Likewise, Foucault’s biopolitics interrogates the brutality of the nation-state that exercises the right of life and death over its subjects. This power takes hold of the human life: seizes that life, ends, impoverishes, and enslaves it. Thus, I focus on the all-pervasive impacts of biopolitics on the lives of individuals and argue that Kundera’s strategic biopolitics against the historical backdrop of the totalitarian surveillance and exile, at length, works as a subversive tool that stages resistance through his writing.




How to Cite

Roy, S. D. . (2021). Invasion, Exile, and Resistance:: Milan Kundera’s Biopolitics in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Crossings: A Journal of English Studies, 12, 130–147.




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