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Judith Butler.State Violence, War, Resistance

For a New Politics of the Left

Debate

Free

Why do we sometimes feel horror or guilt when faced with the violent deaths of some human beings when, on other occasions, our response is coldness and indifference? What mechanisms lead us to recognise some lives as worthy of being lived and to discount others? Judith Butler’s hard-hitting critique shows how the wars recently started by the United States have modelled our perceptions of what life is and of which lives are valuable and which are not. According to Butler, this divergence, encouraged by a mass media which is now part of the machinery of war, has led to the forsaking of entire populations that do not fit in with the Western standard of what is deemed human.

Discourse on state violence and war has instrumentalised “liberal” values such as feminism and secularism in order to undermine the way in which we understand multiculturalism and sexual freedom, not to mention present-day immigration policy and Islam. In opposition to such instrumentalisation, Butler calls for a new politics of the left that would be capable of resisting the effects of war and state violence.

Participants: Judith Butler

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