When some people rejoin with "All Lives Matter" they misunderstand the problem, but not because their message is untrue. It is true that all lives matter, but it is equally true that not all lives are understood to matter which is precisely why it is most important to name the lives that have not mattered, and are struggling to matter in the way they deserve.
Law itself is either suspended, or regarded as an instrument that the state may use in the service of constraining and monitoring a given population; the state is not subject to the rule of law, but law can be suspended or deployed tactically and partially to suit the requirements of a state that seeks more and more to allocate sovereign power to its executive and administrative powers. The law is suspended in the name of "sovereignty" of the nation, where "sovereignty" denotes the task of any state to preserve and protect its own territoriality.
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The misapprehension about gender performativity is this: that gender is a choice, or that gender is a role, or that gender is a construction that one puts on, as one puts on clothes in the morning, that there is a 'one' who is prior to this gender, a one who goes to the wardrobe of gender and decides with deliberation which gender it will be today.
It is not as if an 'I' exists independently over here and then simply loses a 'you' over there, especially if the attachment to 'you' is part of what composes who 'I' am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself. Who 'am' I, without you? When we lose some of these ties by which we are constituted, we do not know who we are or what to do. On one level, I think I have lost 'you' only to discover that 'I' have gone missing as well. At another level, perhaps what I have lost 'in' you, that for which I have no vocabulary, is a relationality that is composed neither exclusively of myself nor you, but is to be conceived as the tie by which those terms are differentiated and related.
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According to Melanie Klein, we develop moral responses in reaction to questions of survivability. My wager is that Klein is right about that, even as she thwarts her own insight by insisting that it is the ego's survivability that is finally at issue. Why the ego? After all, if my survivability depends on a relation to others, to a "you" or a set of "yous" without whom I cannot exist, then my existence is not mine alone, but is to be found outside myself, in this set of relations that precede and exceed the boundaries of who I am. If I have a boundary at all, or if a boundary can be said to belong to me, it is only because I have become separated from others, and it is only on condition of this separation that I can relate to them at all. So the boundary is a function of the relation, a brokering of difference, a negotiation in which I am bound to you in my separateness. If I seek to preserve your life, it is not only because I seek to preserve my own, but because who "I" am is nothing without your life, and life itself has to be rethought as this complex, passionate, antagonistic, and necessary set of relations to others. I may lose this "you" and any number of particular others, and I may well survive those losses. But that can happen only if I do not lose the possibility of any "you" at all. If I survive, it is only because my life is nothing without the life that exceeds me, that refers to some indexical you, without whom I cannot be.
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In other words, they appeal to the state for protection, but the state is precisely that from which they require protection. To be protected from violence by the nation-state is to be exposed to the violence wielded by the nation-state, so to rely on the nation-state for protection from violence is precisely to exchange one potential violence for another. There may, indeed, be few other choices.
Without grievability, there is no life, or, rather, there is something living that is other than life. Instead, "there is a life that will never have been lived, " sustained by no regard, no testimony, and ungrieved when lost. The apprehension of grievability precedes and makes possible the apprehension of precarious life. Grievability precedes and makes possible the apprehension of the living being as living, exposed to non-life from the start.
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I think we won't be able to understand the operations of trans-phobia, homophobia, if we don't understand how certain kinds of links are forged between gender and sexuality in the minds of those who want masculinity to be absolutely separate from femininity and heterosexuality to be absolutely separate from homosexuality.
Revenge tries to solve the problem of vulnerability. If I strike back, I transfer vulnerability from myself to the other. And yet by striking back I produce a world in which my vulnerability to injury is increased by the likelihood of another strike. So it seems as if I'm getting rid of my vulnerability and instead locating it with the other, but actually I'm heightening the vulnerability of everyone and I'm heightening the possibility of violence that happens between us.
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No matter what someone else has done, it still matters how we treat people. It matters to our humanity that we treat offenders according to standards that we recognize as just. Justice is not revenge - it's deciding for a solution that is oriented towards peace, peace being the harder but more human way of reacting to injury. That is the very basis of the idea of rights.
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... that gender is a choice, or that gender is a role, or that gender is a construction that one puts on, as one puts on clothes in the morning, that there is a 'one' who is prior to this gender, a one who goes to the wardrobe of gender and decides with deliberation which gender it will be today.
Indeed, even if one believed that criticisms of Israel are by and large heard as anti-semitic (by Jews, anti-semites, or people who could be described as neither), it would become the responsibility of all of us to change the conditions of reception so that the public might begin to distinguish between criticism of Israel and a hatred of Jews.
Bound to seek recognition of its own existence in categories, terms, and names that are not of its own making, the subject seeks the sign of its own existence outside itself, in a discourse that is at once dominant and indifferent. Social categories signify subordination and existence at once. In other words, within subjection the price of existence is subordination.
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I do not deny certain kinds of biological differences. But I always ask under what conditions, under what discursive and institutional conditions, do certain biological differences - and they're not necessary ones, given the anomalous state of bodies in the world - become the salient characteristics of sex.
Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act... a "doing" rather than a "being". There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results. If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called 'sex' is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always already gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all.
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We act as if that being of a man or that being of a woman is actually an internal reality or something that is simply true about us, a fact about us, but actually its a phenomenon that is being produced all the time and reproduced all the time, so to say gender is performative is to say that nobody really is a gender from the start.
We act as if that being of a man or that being of a woman is actually an internal reality or something that is simply true about us, a fact about us, but actually it's a phenomenon that is being produced all the time and reproduced all the time, so to say gender is performative is to say that nobody really is a gender from the start.
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A challenge to the right of Israel to exist can be construed as a challenge to the existence of the Jewish people only if one believes that Israel alone keeps the Jewish people alive or that all Jews invest their sense of perpetuity in the state of Israel in its current or traditional forms.
Obama's failure to close Guantanamo is yet another instance where the rhetoric of democratic and constitutional rights proved not useful for his international relations, relations which are always pursued in ways that continue to link and fortify securitarian power with the opening of new markets.
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