m1 (turm4)
 
Saturday, 21. March 2009


reading of “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” by Louis Althusser (1970) discussion of “Frames of War: The politics of ungrievable life” by Judith Butler (2009)


"The school (but also other State institutions like the Church, or other apparatuses like the Army) teaches 'know-how', but in forms which ensure subjection to the ruling ideology or the mastery of its 'practice'. All the agents of production, exploitation and repression, not to speak of the 'professionals of ideology' (Marx), must in one way or another be 'steeped' in this ideology in order to perform their tasks 'conscientiously' - the tasks of the exploited (the proletarians), of the exploiters (the capitalists), of the exploiters' auxiliaries (the managers), or of the high priests of the ruling ideology (its 'functionaries'), etc." – Althusser
Judith Butler presents from her forthcoming book from Verso, Frames of War: The Politics of Ungrievable Life. Butler explores the way that recent US-led wars have enforced a distinction between those lives that are recognized as grievable, and those that are not. Extending the argument of Precarious Life (Verso, 2004), Butler argues that process of differential grieving is enacted through media forms that have become part of the very waging of war. This situation has led to the first-world destruction and abandonment of populations who do not conform to the prevailing norm of the human. Such ungrievable populations are framed as never having been “lives” at all, and so already lost from the living from the start. Cast as threats to human life as we know it, rather than as living populations, such populations become targeted for destruction in order to protect the lives of “the living”. This disparity, Butler argues, has profound implications for why and when we feel horror, outrage, guilt, loss and righteous indifference, both in the context of war and, increasingly, everyday life. In this lecture on media - in its broadest sense - and war, Butler focuses on the question: what are the conditions under which a life can be apprehended as a life, and loss openly mourned?



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