Biopower, Body Commodification, and Defiance of Neoliberal Logic in Impuesto a la Carne by Diamela Eltit / Biopoder, mercantilización del cuerpo y desafío a la lógica neoliberal en Impuesto a la carne de Damiela Eltit


This article analyses the novel Impuesto a la carne (2010) by Diamela Eltit and favors a reading that focuses on the past forty years of Chile’s history. Drawing on recent biopolitical concepts by Foucault and Agamben, this article demonstrates how the hospital setting in Eltit’s novel allows her to embody neoliberalism and account for the usually invisible bodily experiences of racialized and gendered patients/citizens, while simultaneously showing that the neoliberal model, in its quest for continuous expansion, is now colonizing the inner spaces of the corporeal body. This article also briefly shows that through her writing of the maternal body, Eltit highlights its potential for resistance and for meaningful connections to other human beings. Her novel thus calls for the emergence of a renewed type of activism that brings together marginalized communities to denounce the embodied nature of social injustice created and reinforced through neoliberalism and to potentially attain the social equality that democracy was supposed to deliver.

Este artículo propone un análisis de la novela Impuesto a la carne (2010) de Diamela Eltit. Basándose en parte en conceptos de biopoder propuestos por Foucault, se demuestra cómo el marco del hospital donde el sufrimiento extremo y el abuso prolongado infligido sobre los cuerpos posiblemente indígenas de la narradora y su madre, le permite a Eltit remitir a la versión silenciada de la historia de Chile y especialmente a su reciente pasado totalitario. Eltit expone cómo el modelo neoliberal vigente es dependiente de los cuerpos humanos para funcionar, y denuncia algunos de los procesos usados por el estado-mercado para excluir, explotar y beneficiarse de lo que considera cuerpos marginados. Este artículo revela también cómo, en su escritura, Eltit recalca el poder de resistencia del cuerpo materno y su potencial para crear conexiones significativas entre seres humanos. En este sentido, la novela anuncia la emergencia de un tipo renovado de activismo que une a las comunidades marginalizadas para denunciar la naturaleza corporalizada de las injusticias sociales creadas y reinforzadas por el sistema neoliberal. 

Palabras clave

Biopower – Body; Chile; Eltit; Neoliberalism; Resistance; Hospital

Texto completo:



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