When Life Cannot Be Lived: Biopolitics, Living Death, and Difficult Ethics
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CitationHoutz, Cassie. 2021. When Life Cannot Be Lived: Biopolitics, Living Death, and Difficult Ethics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Abstract"When Life Cannot Be Lived: Biopolitics, Living Death, and Difficult Ethics" tracks the construction and mobilization of images of “living death” or “life that cannot be called life” in works by Achille Mbembe, Giorgio Agamben, and Simone Weil, arguing that although this elusive imagery can be deployed as justification for exploitation and genocide it can also be used to call attention to forms of human undergoing for which the language of “suffering” is inadequate. When one attends to the possibility that human life can become a form of “living death,” familiar frameworks for ethical relationship (such as those that call for compassion or that ground obligation in the faculties of dignity of autonomy) are not tenable. Thus, in addition to investigating the employment of images of living death, this dissertation surfaces in the works of Mbembe, Agamben, and Weil alternative categories and frameworks for an ethics that remains attentive to this human possibility.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37371918
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