Adolphe Quetelet and biopolitics as secularized theology

The article recaptures the work of an author who has been forgotten by the contemporary social sciences, that is, the Belgium polymath Adolphe Quetelet. Focusing on his main work, Sur l'homme et le développement de ses facultés, ou Essai de physique sociale, the study underscores how the secularization of theological principles within the realm of science was important to the construction of Quetelet's work. His dual engagement in science and politics is pertinent here, as he was the main nineteenth-century force behind the incorporation of statistics as a science essential to the State's ability to govern its people. He also played a relevant role in the realization of the hegemonic political project of modernity, biopolitics, and its influence in the field of biomedicine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874); anthropometry; biopolitics; secularization

Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Av. Brasil, 4365 - Prédio do Relógio, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel./Fax: (55 21) 3865-2208/2195/2196 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil