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living on; not getting better
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. York University, Canada.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9360-0931
2015 (English)In: Feminist review (Print), ISSN 0141-7789, E-ISSN 1466-4380, no 111, 10-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The contemporary emergence of the concept debility, which pertains to a broad swathe of humanity whose ordinary lives simply persist without ever getting better, shares a time span with an acute critique of neo-liberal biopolitics. Where capital has historically relied on a population that through its labour necessarily becomes debilitated, the newer model of understanding references the intrinsic profitability of debility itself. The two dimensions overlap and co-exist, but what I shall pursue here are the implications of recognising that, at the most fundamental level, it is in the interests of neo-liberalism to produce and sustain bodies as debilitated and therefore susceptible to a range of market commodities that hold out the promise of therapeutic interventions into the relative failures of physical, cognitive and affective embodiment. In previous work, I have argued strongly for the inherent vulnerability of all bodies, but in considering here a more overtly politicised context, it becomes possible to readdress the questions posed by Jasbir Puar: which bodies are made to pay for "progress"? Which debilitated bodies can be reinvigorated for neoliberalism, and which cannot? And at the present moment, writing at a time of imposed austerity, I would add, what, if anything, is lost in the deployment of the term debility instead of disability?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PALGRAVE MACMILLAN LTD , 2015. no 111, 10-24 p.
Keyword [en]
debility; neo-liberalism; biopolitics
National Category
Gender Studies Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123145DOI: 10.1057/fr.2015.22ISI: 000364728300002OAI: diva2:877636
Available from: 2015-12-07 Created: 2015-12-04 Last updated: 2016-03-11

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Shildrick, Margrit
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