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Chapter 2 lays out the theoretical and methodological approach for the analysis. The study draws on discourse analysis, understanding the category of homosexuality to be a construction built on an ‘external dimension’ (a regime of acts) and an ‘internal dimension’ (identity). Queer theory provides insights into the interplay of this act/identity distinction, which functions as an unstable dichotomy where sometimes one is favoured and sometimes the other. Within this system, the gay person is caught in a delicate situation, faced with contradictory expectations as to their ‘discretion’ and disclosure, while at the same time never in full control of what others know about their sexuality. In terms of methodological approach, the analysis is based on discourse analysis on refugee law doctrine. Unlike a classical doctrinal analysis seeking the right legal answer, this study is interested in the ways in which legal doctrine is constructed. Three case studies add an empirical element from the Common European Asylum System: sexuality-based asylum claims from Germany, France and Spain are submitted to analysis.
Psychiatry has never been without vociferous critics. Anti-psychiatry raised legitimate, albeit irritating, concerns about psychiatric practice. Clinical psychologists in Britain now outnumber psychiatrists, with an enormously expanded clinical remit. Lead psychologists are now as experienced as consultant psychiatrist and vie for leadership. To pretend that all is well in the world of professional mental health practice and relationship is dangerous.
This chapter reassesses characterisations of the long eighteenth century as one devoted to accumulating anatomies and constructing taxonomies. Scholars have traced a broad movement, across the sciences, politics, and wider culture, toward simplification and categorisation – against the threat of ambiguity and complexity. In particular, critics and historians have identified a drive to identify anatomical, physiological explanations for human character and behaviour. Yet, those other eighteenth-century cultural ‘revolutions’ – the culture of sensibility and the emergence of modern selfhood – indicate a growing emphasis on specificity, individuation, and personal identity, which would seem to oppose the trend toward simplification. How do we account, then, for these seemingly contradictory movements towards simplification on the one hand and complexity on the other? I address this question by focusing on the cultural resonances surrounding certain objects, which ‘perform’ identity at the broad and busy intersection of politics, medicine, literature, and visual culture. In doing so, I show how things and words became fused with bodies in the development of anatomical and physiological knowledge throughout the long eighteenth century.
Critical trends in psychiatry are abundant today. Their impact on how psychiatry is currently practised is considerable. Yet what deserves close examination is the extent to which these modes of critique (anti-psychiatry, liberation movements, activism, existential, narrative or hermeneutic approaches, theories of values, psychoanalysis) inherently belong to or have become part of the very system that they criticise. Despite their political, social or scientific influence, which is undeniable, their critical power is often limited by their inability to radically challenge the deeper anthropological and philosophical presuppositions on which mainstream psychiatry rests. It can be argued that Foucault offers such a challenge. Implementing his historico-philosophical method, Foucault is sceptical of the anti-psychiatric quest for non-oppressive modes of psychiatric power and the humanist and postmodern efforts to moralise or relativise psychiatric truth. All these modes of critique rest on preconceived notions of nature, power and truth and have been integrated by the pluralism of the psychiatric universe. Yet Foucault's critique seeks precisely the opposite: to explore a new anthropological conception of insanity that has the power to challenge the legal, moral or reductionist constraints under which medical truth currently operates.
This chapter focuses on Rorty’s engagements with Heidegger, Derrida, and Foucault. It argues that, however much he enjoyed these encounters, Rorty’s philosophical views were largely unaffected by them. He tended to endorse what could be assimilated to his own Deweyan pragmatism and reject the rest. In this way, Rorty endorses Heidegger’s diagnosis of the history of European philosophy, while disavowing his criticism of modernity and his nostalgia for an authentic language of Being. He denounces Foucault’s supposed commitment to anarchism and revolution as incompatible with his preferred Deweyan social democratic politics. Only his writings on Derrida provide evidence of deepening understanding of and sympathy with a philosophical project irreducible to his own. Overall, Rorty refuses to accept any philosophical invention on the part of these thinkers. Derrida’s deconstructive argument in favor of an elusive quasi-metaphysics of difference, and Foucault’s genealogies of present institutions and ways of thinking are either ignored or denounced as residues of the tradition they seek to escape. Rorty characterizes each of them as essentially private thinkers, “ascetic priests” who aspire to stand apart from the herd and to be in touch with a reality more profound than the life they share with others.
Chapter 2 is ‘Progress: Ancient Custom in the Modern City’. Here I pursue sociopolitical questions prompted by ballad singing, in an analysis shaped by an understanding of historical time and process whereby the chief tension lay between an early modern conception of order, public space, and neighbourhood, as embodied by the singer, and a self-consciously modern urban programme of improvement and capital, advanced by journalists and the judiciary. I situate debates over ballad singing at the centre of this historical process, the better to understand both issues. I analyse the threats singers were said to represent, in moral and legal writing; the political power accorded to the song by authorities (centring on the endlessly repeated maxim of the early Enlightenment thinker Alexander Fletcher); contemporary medical views on the inflammatory power of music; the vexed question of public space; and the steps taken both to repress and to coerce ballad-singers. I focus on the few documented occasions when a ballad-singer had a demonstrable impact on the actions of a community, from Kennington, to Camden, to Whitechapel market, and I come to see the singer, not as analogous to rough music as such, but as a paradoxical, anachronistic voice of authority within those communities.
This chapter examines the transformation by which, over the final decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth, the urban poor of Iran and especially the “lower depths” among them ceased to be merely a permanent and occasionally troublesome presence in towns and cities, to be tolerated, managed or ignored, becoming instead a collective menace. The chapter discusses both marginality itself and the dialectical dynamic between the marginal and modernism, locating its focus on Iran within wider comparative frameworks. Using especially the work of Michel Foucault, it takes as its key players, on the one side the so-called “dangerous classes” and, on the other, their eternal adversary, the modern state, using examples drawn from Egypt, the Ottoman empire, Algeria, France and Britain to illuminate the Iranian experience. The chapter has, at its centre, narratives of the lives of various representatives of the “dangerous classes,” prostitutes, the criminal in the form of the serial killer, prisoners, the undeserving poor, beggars and paupers, and the quintessentially liminal lutis. But it also argues for the artificiality of this notion of the “dangerous classes” and its deliberate construction by a modernizing elite for whom it functioned as a mirror image, the marginal, the immoral and the criminal a perfect foil for the emerging middle classes. The chapter examines the role allocated to the marginal in the construction of modern regimes of surveillance and discipline, including avowedly “modern” police forces, prisons, judicial systems, red light districts and clinics. The chapter concludes by arguing that, far from disappearing with the triumph of modernity, the dangerous classes themselves, and the environments which supposedly produced and succoured them, are rapidly proliferating in the twenty-first century Middle East and North Africa.
This chapter offers a theoretical analysis of Shi‘a ‘ulama’s conceptions of and engagements with their state in the midst of sectarian violence. My close study of Shi‘a religious journals and fieldwork among the ‘ulama highlights that many clerics view the state as culpable for Shi‘a deaths, not simply despite the state’s claim to an Islamic identity, but in some instances, because of Pakistan’s Sunni Islamic leanings. The chapter then interrogates why the very ‘ulama who critique the state for its complicity in Shi‘a deaths also appeal to the state for protection. By way of answer, I argue that when viewing the state as a configuration of institutions whose negative effects they experience, the ‘ulama rebuke the state for its complicity in anti-Shi‘a violence. However, when viewing the state as an idea, fantasy or image, the ‘ulama understand it as a legitimate authoritative body transcending society and providing security. Drawing on philosophical and anthropological works on the state, I explain that the ‘ulama’s appeals for protection help constitute the state by reproducing the effect of the state idea or fantasy through discourses and bodily practices. I argue that the approach to the state adopted by this chapter can be fruitfully applied to study state–‘ulama relations across the Muslim world.
In this book, Mashal Saif explores how contemporary 'ulama, the guardians of religious knowledge and law, engage with the world's most populated Islamic nation-state: Pakistan. In mapping these engagements, she weds rigorous textual analysis with fieldwork and offers insight into some of the most significant and politically charged issues in recent Pakistani history. These include debates over the rights of women; the country's notorious blasphemy laws; the legitimacy of religiously mandated insurrection against the state; sectarian violence; and the place of Shi'as within the Sunni majority nation. These diverse case studies are knit together by the project's most significant contribution: a theoretical framework that understands the 'ulama's complex engagements with their state as a process of both contestation and cultivation of the Islamic Republic by citizen-subjects. This framework provides a new way of assessing state - 'ulama relations not only in contemporary Pakistan but also across the Muslim world.
This chapter revisits the well-known case involving the death of a child wife in India, Queen-Empress v. Hurree Mohun Mythee. While it is usually assumed that the signs of violence and immaturity found on the corpse of the child wife led to the passage of the Age of Consent Act (1891), this chapter draws on insights from sexuality and science studies to argue that the autopsy served as a technology to construct the child as embodied. It traces the construction of the “child” as a natural category – by medicine, the law, and perhaps more surprisingly, by history – and suggests that the “child” is created by, and serves to obscure, the epistemic contract on age – an implicit agreement that age is a natural measure of legal capacity for all humans, but which can, in fact, be traced to liberal political theory and its dissemination in jurisprudence.
This chapter locates the Child Marriage Restraint Act (1929) in the context of two sets of numbers – the census statistics that were used to measure the scale of the social problem of child marriages and the “digits of age” that were used to define the child in order to mitigate the problem. In doing so, it locates the history of the CMRA in a newly enlarged field of play – in the League of Nation’s transnational humanitarian program of child protection, on the one hand, and raging debates on “population” as a global problem, on the other. It argues that while age-based measurements of legal personhood might appear unremarkable now, age had to be made stable by several technologies of government. It examines how a range of nationalist positions came to be articulated as a choice over the age limits of childhood in interwar India. It scrutinizes how age could – or could not – be proved through forensic technologies and documentary evidence in colonial courtrooms. By taking age as a question of power and not a fact about the body, this chapter traces the juridical construction of the child.
This chapter recalls the author’s earlier visit to a Chinese compulsory drug detention center to explore covert civil society counter-surveillance of a tightly restricted facility under multiple rings of state surveillance, and to reflect on the limits of international regimes of monitoring and accountability. While torture and forced labor were widely reported, the facility’s manager presented it to the author as a model detention center. Ten years later, as senior human rights advisor at the Global Fund, which then invested in HIV programs in similar centers in Viet Nam, the author was tasked with developing a corporate Key Performance Indicator on human rights. The process of putting in place systems of compliance to ensure that aid money was not financing human rights violations became a public challenge. The chapter asks what can be known, from Geneva, about what really happens in places situated within multiple circles of top-down surveillance and display? By engaging in monitoring, civil society and development organizations attempt to engage in their own forms of surveillance and discipline. Sometimes, what they encounter is a Potemkin effect: a sunny display intended to deflect accountability and hide grimmer realities.
In this volume, Douglas Yoder uses the tools of modern and postmodern philosophy and biblical criticism to elucidate the epistemology of the Tanakh, the collection of writings that comprise the Hebrew Bible. Despite the conceptual sophistication of the Tanakh, its epistemology has been overlooked in both religious and secular hermeneutics. The concept of revelation, the genre of apocalypse, and critiques of ideology and theory are all found within or derive from epistemic texts of the Tanakh. Yoder examines how philosophers such as Spinoza, Hume, and Kant interacted with such matters. He also explores how the motifs of writing, reading, interpretation, image, and animals, topics that figure prominently in the work of Derrida, Foucault, and Nietzsche, appear also in the Tanakh. An understanding of Tanakh epistemology, he concludes, can lead to new appraisals of religious and secular life throughout the modern world.
This chapter discusses the impact of collective culpability after the Korean War from a microhistocial perspective. It situates the proliferation of this technology of societal control within the broader Cold War global politics and offers a critical review of Michel Foucault’s thoughts on modern disciplinary technology.
This chapter introduces and outlines the structure of the book and its argument. It begins with an extended look at litigation between two rival religious sects – the Worldwide Church of God and the splinter group Philadelphia Church of God – over access to doctrinal texts that the WGC owned the rights to, but that it had renounced. It thus provides a good example of how intellectual property can matter even in the most basic and intimate aspects of our lives. I then situate the book in the context of current literature on the expansion of intellectual property (IP) rights. Rather than note their expansion, I argue that the kind of power expressed in IP is subtly shifting. The chapter then offers a brief synopsis of the core Foucauldian theory behind the book – that power can operate according to different logics. It concludes with an outline of the remainder of the text.
This chapter both provides a condensed case for why the analysis of intellectual property (IP) through differing regimes of power is a fruitful one, and details a couple of its implications. One is that we need to be attentive to the way IP law creates certain kinds of subjects, and to be willing to critique it on those lines. The other takes the form of a brief discussion of alternatives proposed to IP, in such areas as “low IP” zones and in creative commons-style proposals. I conclude that the degree to which these alternatives fundamentally challenge the neoliberalization of IP and its move away from public biopower, is essential in assessing the extent to which they actually are alternatives. The goal is not to be strongly prescriptive, but, in the manner of Foucault, to help figure out what are the right questions to ask.
This chapter develops the theoretical framework for the book. Using Foucault, the chapter introduces three models of power: juridical (sovereignty and rights-based), public biopower (promoting the productivity and health of the population in a general way), and neoliberal biopower (same objective as biopower, but working on individuals and treating everything as part of the economy). With neoliberal biopower, the emphasis is on subjectification and the development of homo economicus as a type. I then trace intellectual property (IP) from its emergence at the intersection of classical liberalism and juridical power to the current neoliberal form. My focus is on the contrast between the early, public biopower version of IP with the current, neoliberal one. The earlier version relies on the notion of benefits to an amorphous public and worries about the effects of monopolies; the newer version drops the aversion to monopoly and attempts to use property rights to capture and internalize public benefits, while putting pressure on individuals in the public to view their interaction with culture economically. I then analyze the current, Demsetzian theorization of IP as neoliberal.
Deep learning changes one’s perspective on how the world works and, by extension, how one should be in the world. Thus, whenever new knowledge threatens to disturb the existing political equilibrium, learning becomes a political act. This chapter considers the work of Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, Michel Foucault, and John Dewey, and ends with four recommendations for making political dynamics more conducive to deep learning: identify existing systems of power relationships, surface hegemonic assumptions, speak truth to power, and cultivate procedural justice.