The Challenge of Unintelligible Life
Critical Security Studies’ Failure to Account for Violence Against Queer People
Keywords:biopower, critical security studies, disciplinary power, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Queer theory, subjectivity, unintelligibility, violence
This article grapples with the inability of Critical Security Studies (CSS) to see and account for violence against queer people. It locates the absence of theorizing on anti-queer violence within existing critical security approaches in the failure to apprehend them as intelligible subjects or livable lives. It demonstrates these theoretical limitations through an exploration of Foucauldian frameworks within CSS, which inform dominant approaches to understanding violence. It also argues that the inability of CSS to account for anti-queer violence can be traced back to the presumption of an intelligible subject of violence on which any theoretical framework necessarily relies. The impossibility to account for anti-queer violence, due to the very nature of ‘queerness’, provides fruitful avenues for thought within CSS. This article therefore is a call for critical security scholars to take the challenge of unintelligible life seriously.
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Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science by https://politikon.iapss.org/index.php/politikon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.