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Title: Owning the future : demonology and the architecture of sovereignty in a time of terror
Author: O'Donnell, S. Jonathon
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9264
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis analyses the relation between demonology and sovereignty in apocalyptic and spiritual warfare discourses in contemporary American evangelical conservatism. Employing a poststructuralist hermeneutical framework drawn from Jacques Derrida and Michel de Certeau, it assesses selected texts published between 2008 and 2013 which construct specific threats to what the authors view as the legitimate telic orders of being, or 'orthotaxies'. I analyse how these orthotaxies operate as sovereignty claims, positing ownership of the future as temporal, ideological and geopolitical territory within various theopolitics of identity that juxtapose a singular 'authentic' self against a multiplicity of others coded as demonic. Orthotaxic sovereignty claims are thus predicated on strategies of (de)legitimation reliant upon demonic others which contest and continually haunt those claims through (an) orthotaxy's structural dependency on them as self-consolidating others. My thesis focuses on three such demonological others as constructed in thematically-related texts: 'Islam', 'Jezebel', and 'Transhumanism'. Each of the case studies traces a distinct relationship between theopolitical sovereignty and its demonic other. Those of 'Islam' figure a discourse of competing unity, constructing an uncanny other so (un)like the self which embodies in abject form the order the writers crave. Those of 'Jezebel' belie a terror of process, flow and (in)stability that exposes the absence of a stable, singular sovereign. Those of 'Transhumanism' reveal a structure of secularised metamorphosis that threatens to rewrite the (in)evitable telos of God's sovereign role in history. By situating these others in the context of a genealogy of the political implementation of demonology and of a reification of American 'authenticity' both during and after the Cold War, my thesis explores the structural relationship between theopolitical conceptions of sovereignty and a demonic other which both guarantees and subverts that sovereignty through the mechanisms of its exclusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral