Zizek on Disposable Life

Zizek on Disposable Life

I discussed the History of Violence project’s Disposable Life series when it was first announced here.  Introducing the series, the Project’s Director Brad Evans explains:

“Mass violence is poorly understood if it simply refers to casualties on battlefields or continues to be framed through conventional notions of warfare. We need to interrogate the multiple ways in which entire populations are rendered disposable on a daily basis if we are to take seriously the meaning of global citizenship in the 21st Century”.

Nine videos have been produced so far, and you can access the first eight here; the latest comes from Slavoj Zizek:

For Zizek, the issue of ‘disposable lives’ in the contemporary period does not simply relate to some small or invisible minority. According to the new logics of global capitalism, the vast majority of the worlds citizens (including almost entire Nations) are deemed to be worthless and superfluous to its productive needs. Not only does this point to new forms of apartheid as the global cartography for power seeks to police hierarchies of disposability, it further points to a nihilistic future wherein the aspirations of many are already being sacrificed.

You can access the video through the links above or directly from vimeo here.  Not my favourite theorist or commentator, but worth watching not least for the one-liner about Sloterdijk (at 4.06 if you’re really busy).  What he takes from Sloterdijk is this:

‘”global” means there is a globe which is not all-encompassing, it’s a globe where from within you think it’s endless, all encompassing, you see it all, but no, it excludes…’

I agree with Brad’s framing of the project – impossible not to, I think – but once you start to imagine the global in these (un)exceptionable terms,  both conventional and unconventional modes of warfare start to seep back in to the discussion.  For on those now radically dispersed and discontinuous battle spaces whole populations are being rendered disposable on a daily basis.

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