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Title: Governing resistance : security, exception and docile dissent
Author: Coleman, Lara
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
Abandonment, dispossession and the production of entire populations of surplus human life are inscribed within the multiform and situated practices through which neoliberal ordering is achieved on a global scale. Where this abandonment and dispossession is contested, governmental practices have been extended to incorporate a multileveled and increasingly insidious assemblage of tactics, apparatuses and rationalities geared toward containing and managing contestation. This thesis is about the relations between these situated practices of ordering and contestation. In it, I trace the trajectories of two concrete struggles in Colombia - peasant contestation of the dispossession visited upon them in the context of BP's investment in oilfields and workers' mobilisations against labour casualisation at Coca-Cola's bottling plants - from their origins in a heavily-militarised and heavily-marketised biopolitics to their emergence as international campaigns. Borrowing from Michel Foucault's comments on liberalism and Jacques Ranciere's discussion of politics, I conceptualise these struggles as the domain of politically surplus subjects, those who refuse to conduct themselves as parts of the population, who challenge distinctions between which life counts and which life does not count that are inscribed within market-based governmental rationalities. My interest is in how political surplus is routinely nullified, not only through violent repression, but also through technologies of civil society aimed at the incorporation of dissenting subjects as manageable parts of the population. I address the interplay between these techniques by extending Foucault's discussion of a dispositif of security as the "essential technical mechanism" of a liberal governmentality that limits itself by reference to the "necessities" of the market. Security, for Foucault, is about letting things happen but nullifying them, allowing them to cancel themselves out, not prohibiting social and political excess in advance but keeping what is risky or inconvenient within optimal limits. I suggest that optimal forms of global civil society are founded upon the exclusion of those forms of dissent that cannot be so readily contained within the terms of neoliberal order.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.558087  DOI: Not available
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