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Vortrag von Leire Urricelqui im Rahmen der Vortragsreihe: Demokratie als Herausforderung

Dienstag, 23.05.2023

How to grieve a “terrorist” life? Dehumanization and its Challenges for Democracy 
Leire Urricelqui (Institut für Philiosophie)

Wann: 24.05.2023 19:00–20:30
Wo: HS 06.03, Universitätsplatz 6, 8010 Graz

In this presentation, I analyze Judith Butler’s notion of grievability (Betrauerbarkeit) as a possible framework for understanding the differential production of the Human and the constitution of the inhuman enemy.
The inhuman enemy—the enemy of humanity— results from a process of dehumanization that presents the enemy as an absolute threat and expulse them from the Human. Their expulsion justifies and presents violence against them as necessary. My argument is that grievability (the possibility to be grieved or not) can help analytically dismantle the processes that constitute the inhuman enemy. My proposal is to take this framework to add a distinction between 1) ungrievable lives that will not be grieved (the lives that would not count as a loss if and when they die), and 2) those lives whose ungrievability will be even more extreme because not only their lives would not count as a loss if they die but their grief will be forbidden and illegitimate. Taking the ‘terrorist’ as an example of a dehumanized and demonized life, I explore the difficulties that the ‘terrorist’ presents for grief and the way in which this category divides the population between those who are grievable and those whose grief is illegitimate. Thus, I investigate how the ‘terrorist’ can help understand the actual structures and vocabularies of recognition that exist for our political representation of the Human. To do so, I focus on two ISIS-attacks—Paris November 2015 and Barcelona August 2017—and their respective political and media responses. Following these examples, I examine if there is a present structure of support that sustains a so-named terrorist life, if there is a space in the public sphere for this mourning or even this question, and how is this term used to limit what can be marked as a life and the death that will count as a loss.


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