Dispossession : The Performative in the Political - Conversations with Athena Athanasiou

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Polity
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Dispossession describes the condition of those who have lost land, citizenship, property, and a broader belonging to the world. This thought-provoking book seeks to elaborate our understanding of dispossession outside of the conventional logic of possession, a hallmark of capitalism, liberalism, and humanism. Can dispossession simultaneously characterize political responses and opposition to the disenfranchisement associated with unjust dispossession of land, economic and political power, and basic conditions for living? In the context of neoliberal expropriation of labor and livelihood, dispossession opens up a performative condition of being both affected by injustice and prompted to act. From the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa to the anti-neoliberal gatherings at Puerta del Sol, Syntagma and Zucchotti Park, an alternative political and affective economy of bodies in public is being formed. Bodies on the street are precarious - exposed to police force, they are also standing for, and opposing, their dispossession. These bodies insist upon their collective standing, organize themselves without and against hierarchy, and refuse to become disposable: they demand regard. This book interrogates the agonistic and open-ended corporeality and conviviality of the crowd as it assembles in cities to protest political and economic dispossession through a performative dispossession of the sovereign subject and its propriety.

Author Biography

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous publications include Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, and Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex". She is currently the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities.

Athena Athanasiou teaches in the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
1: Aporetic dispossession, or the trouble with dispossession
2: The logic of dispossession and the matter of the human (after the critique of metaphysics of substance)
3: A caveat about the “primacy of economy”
4: Sexual dis-possessions
5: Trans/possessions, or bodies beyond themselves
6: The sociality of self-poetics: Talking back to the violence of recognition
7: Recognition and survival; or, surviving recognition
8: Relationality as self-dispossession
9: Uncounted bodies, incalculable performativity
10: Responsiveness as responsibility
11: Ex-propriating (the) performative
12: Dispossessed languages, or singularities named and renamed
13: The political promise of the performative
14: The governmentality of “crisis” and its resistances
15: Enacting another vulnerability: On owing and owning
16: Trans-border affective foreclosures and state racism
17: Public grievability and the politics of memorialization
18: The political affects of plural performativity
19: Conundrums of solidarity
20: The university, the humanities, and the book bloc
21: Spaces of appearance, politics of exposure

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