The Biopolitics of Victim Construction, Elision and Contestation in Northern Ireland and Lebanon Peacebuilding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

I explore two postconflict societies – Northern Ireland and Lebanon – in regards to their different approaches to dealing with victims. While in Northern Ireland the state and other agencies have constructed a victims’ sector, Lebanon’s political elites use political amnesia to silence victims’ rights. To help conceptualize these divergent policies, I utilize two contrasting representations of the biopolitical formulated by Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben. While Foucault’s biopolitics provides a framework to understand how the victims’ sector and victims’ subjectivity was constructed as part of the Northern Irish peace process, Agamben’s version of the biopolitical is used to understand how victims and their families in Lebanon are rendered as ‘bare life’ and positioned within the state of exception. Despite the lack of unpredictable agency accorded by both Foucault and Agamben to biopolitical processes, complex forms of contestation – including ‘destituent resistance’ – generated by victims’ social movements are explored.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPeacebuilding
Early online date29 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 29 Jul 2019

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