Read Theory to Me – Affective Economies (essay) SARA AHMED

this essay starts with a quote from the Aryan Nations website the depths of love are rooted and very deep in a real white nationalist soul and spirit no form of hate could even begin to compare at least not a hate motivated by under ungrounded reasoning it is not hate that makes the average white man look upon our mixed-race couple with a scowl on his face and loathing in his heart it is not hate that makes the white housewife throw down the daily newspaper newspaper it says in repulsion and anger after reading of yet another child molester or rapist sentenced by corrupt courts to a couple of short ears in prison or on parole it is not hate that makes the white workingman curse about the latest boatload of aliens dumped on our shores to be given a job preference over the white citizen who built this land it is not hate that brings rage into the heart of a white Christian farmer when he reads of billions loaned or given away as aid to foreigners when he can’t get the smallest break from an unmerciful government to save his failing farm no it’s not hate it is love hey this is Sarah common now how do emotions work to align some subjects with some others and against other others how do emotions move between bodies in this essay I argue that emotions play a crucial role in the surfacing of individual and collective bodies through the way in which emotions circulate between bodies and signs such an argument clearly challenges any assumption that emotions are a private matter that they so that they simply belong to individuals or even that they come from within and then move outward towards others it creates it suggests that emotions are not simply within or without but that they create the very effect of the surfaces or boundaries of bodies and worlds for instance in the above narrative on the Aryan Nations website the role of emotions in particular hate and love is crucial to the delineation of the bodies of individual subjects and the body of the nation here a subject the white nationalist the average white man the white house wife the white working man the white citizen the white Christian farmer is presented as dangered by imagined others whose proximity threatens not only to take something away from the subject jobs security wealth but to take the place of the subject in other words the presence of those others is imagined as a threat to the object of love the narrative involves a rewriting of history in which the labors of others migrants slaves is concealed in a fantasy that is the white subject who built this land the white subjects claim the place of hosts our shores at the same time as they claim the position of the victim as the ones who are damaged by an unmerciful government the narrative hence suggests that it is love for the nation that makes the white Aryans hate those whom they recognize as strangers as the ones who are taking away the nation and the role of the Aryans in its history as well as their future we might note as well that the reading of others is hateful alliant the imagined subject with the rights and the imagination with ground this alignment is effected by the representation of both the rights of the subject and the grounds of the nation is already under threat it is the emotional reading of hate that works to bind the imagined white subject and nation together the average white man feels fear and loathing the white housewife repulsion and anger the white working man curses the white Christian farmer rage the passion of these negative attachments to others is redefined simultaneously as a positive attachment to the imagined subjects brought together through the repetition of the signifier white it is the love of white or those recognizable as white that supposedly explains this shared communal visceral response of hate together we hate and this heat hate is what makes us together this narrative is far from extraordinary indeed it shows us what it shows us is the production of the ordinary the ordinary is here fantastic the ordinary white subject is a fantasy that comes into being through the mobilisation of hate as a passionate attachment tied closely to love the emotion of hate works to animate the ordinary subject to bring that fantasy to life precisely by constituting the ordinary as in crisis and the ordinary person as the real victim the ordinary becomes that which is already under that threat by imagined others whose proximity becomes a crime against person as well as place the ordinary or normative subject is reproduced as the injured party the one hurt or even damaged by invasion of others the bodies of others are hence transformed into the hated through a discourse of pain they are assumed to cause injury to the ordinary white subject such that their proximity is read as the origin of bad feeling indeed the implication here is that the white subjects good feelings love care loyalty are being taken away by the abuse of such feelings of others so who is hated in such a narrative of ink or injury clearly hate is distributed across various figures in this case the mixed-race couple the child master the rapist aliens and foreigners these figures come to embody the threat of loss lost jobs lost money lost land they signify the danger of impurity or mixing or taking of blood they threatened to violate the pure bodies such bodies can only be imagined as pure by the perpetual restaging of this fantasy of violation note the work that is being done through this metonymic slide mixed race couplings and immigrants immigration become readable as like forms of rape or molestation an invasion of the body of the nation represented here as the vulnerable and damaged bodies of the white woman and child the slide between figures constructs a relation of resemblance between the figures what makes them alike maybe they’re unlike nests within the narrative heat cannot be found in one figure but works to create the very outline of different figures or objects of hate a creation that crucially aligns the figures together and constitutes them as a common threat importantly then he does not reside in a given subject or object hate is economic it circulates between signifiers and relationships of difference and displacement in such effective economies emotions do things and they align individuals with communities or bodily space with social space through the very intense if their attachments rather than seeing emotions as psychological dispositions we need to consider how they work in concrete and particular ways to mediate the relationship between the psychic and the social between the individual and the collective in particular I will show how emotions work by sticking figures together adherence a sticking that creates the very effect of a collective coherence with reference to the figures of the asylum seeker and the international terrorists my economic model of emotion suggests that while emotions do not positively reside in a subject or figure they still work to bind subjects together indeed to put it more strongly the non-residents of emotion is what makes them binding economies of hate everyday language certainly constructs emotions as a form of positive residence so I might say I have a feeling or I might describe a film as being sad in such ways of speaking emotions become property something that belongs to a subject or object which can take the form of a characteristic or quality I want to challenge the idea that I have an emotion or that something or somebody makes me feel a certain way I am interested in the way emotions involve subjects and objects but without residing positively within them indeed emotions may only seem like a form of residence as an effect of a certain history a history that may operate by concealing its own traces clearly such an approach borrows from psychoanalysis which is also a theory of the subject as lacking positive residents a lack of being most commonly articulated as the unconscious in his essay on the unconscious Freud introduces the notion of unconscious emotions where an affective impulse is perceived to at misconstrued and which becomes attached to another idea what is repressed from consciousness is not the feeling as such but the idea to which the feeling may have been first but provisionally connected psychoanalysis allows us to see that emotionality involves movements or associations whereby feelings take us across different levels of signification not all of which can be admitted in the present this is what I would call the rip affective emotions they move sideways through sticky associations between science figures and objects as well as backward repression eyes leaves its trace in the present hence what sticks is also bound up with the perhaps –nt presence of historicity in the opening quotation we can see precisely how hate slides sideways between figures as well as backward by reopening past associations that allow somebodies to be read as the cause of our hate or as being hateful indeed insofar as psychoanalysis is a theory of the subject as lacking in the present then it offers a theory of emotion as economy as involving relationships of difference and displacement without positive value that is emotions work as a form of capital effect effect does not reside positively in the sign or commodity but is produced only as an effect of its circulation I am using the economic to suggest that emotions circulate and are distributed across the social as well as a psychic field I am borrowing from the Marxian critique of the logic of capital in capital Marx discusses how the movement of commodities and money in the formula MCM money to commodity to money creates surplus value that is through circulation and exchange and acquires more value or as he puts it the value originally advanced therefore not only remains intact while in circulation but increases its magnitude adds to itself a surplus value or is valorized and this movement converts it into capital I am identifying a similar logic the movement between signs converts into effect marks links value with effect through the figures of the capitalist and the miser this boundless drive for enrichment this passionate chase after value is common to the capitalist and to the miser passion drives the accumulation of capital the capitalist is not interested in the use value of commodities but in the appropriation of ever more wealth what I am offering is a theory of passion not as the drive to accumulate whether it be value power meaning but as that which is accumulated over time effect does not reside in an object or sign but isn’t as effect of the circulation between objects and signs equaling the accumulation of effective value over time some sign that is increase an effective value as an effect of the movement between signs the more they circulate the more effective they become and the more they appear to contain effect another way to theorize this process would be to describe feelings via an analogy with commodity fetishism feelings appear in objects or indeed as objects with a life of their own only by the concealment of how they are shaped by histories including histories of production labor and labour time as well as circulation or exchange of course such an argument about affect as an economy does not respect the important marks and distinction between use-value and exchange-value and hence relies on a limited analogy in some ways my approach may have been more common it may have more in common with a psychoanalytic emphasis on difference and displacement as the form or language of the unconscious described above where my approach involves a departure from psychoanalysis is precisely in my refusal to identify this economy as a psychic one although neither is it not a psychic one that is to return these relationships of difference and displacement to the signifier of the subject this return is not only clear in Freud’s work but also in lakhan’s positing of the subject as the proper scene of absence and loss as Lacroix and potala argue as Lacan descript defines the subject as the locus of the signifier then it is in a theory of the subject that the locus of the signifier settles this constitution of the subject has settlement even if what settles is lacking in presence means that the suspended context of the signifier are delimited by the contours of the subject in contrast my account of hate as an effective economy shows that emotions do not positively inhabit any body as well as anything meaning that the subject is simply one nodal point in the economy rather than its or and destination this is extremely important it suggests that the sideways and backward movement of emotions such as heat is not contained within the contours of a subject the unconscious is hence not the unconscious of a subject but the failure of presence the fit or the failure to be present that constitutes the relationality of subjects and objects a relationality that works through the circulation of signs given this effective economies need to be seen as social and material as well as psychic indeed if the movement of affect is crucial to the very making of a difference between in here and out there then the psychic and the social cannot be installed as proper objects instead materialization which Judith Butler describes as the effect of boundary fixity and surface involves a process of intensification in other words the accumulation of effective value shapes the surfaces of bodies and worlds we could hence ask how the circulation of science effect shapes okay we could hence ask how the circulation of signs of effect shapes the materialization of collective bodies for example the body of the nation we have already seen how hate slides across different figures and constitutes them as a common threat and what we can call hate speech but the slippery work of emotion cannot allow us to presume any opposition between extremist discourses and the ordinary work of reproducing the nation we can take as an example the speeches on asylum seekers by the previous leader of the British Conservative Party William Hague between April and June 2000 other speeches were in circulation that became stuck to the asylum speech seekers speech through this temporal proximity but also this is a repetition with a difference of some sticky words and language in the case of the asylum speeches heggs narrative is somewhat predictable words like flood and swamped are used which create association between asylum and the loss of control as well as dirt and sewage and hence work by mobilizing fear or the anxiety of being overwhelmed by the actual or Henschel potential proximity of others these words have recently been repeated by the current British Home Secretary David Blunkett who uses the word swamped to describe the effect that children of asylum seekers would have if they were taught by local schools when criticized he replaced the word swamped with overwhelmed the assumption here is that overwhelmed resolves the implication of swamped but as we can see it still evokes the sensation of being overtaken or taken over by others it constructs the nation as if it were a subject one who could not cope with the presence of others here words generate effects they create impressions of others as those who have invaded the space of the nation threatening its existence typically Hague in the earlier speeches differentiates between those others who are welcome and those who are not by differential differentiating between genuine and bukas asylum seekers partly this enables the national subject to imagine its own generosity in welcoming some others the nation is hospitable as it allows those genuine ones to stay and yet at the same time and construct some others as already hateful as bogus in order to define the limits or the conditions of this hospitality the construction of the bogus asylum seeker as a figure of hate also involves a narrative of uncertainty and crisis but an uncertainty in crisis that make that figure do more work how can we tell the difference between a bogus and a genuine asylum seeker according to the logic of this discourse it is always possible that we might not be able to tell the difference and that they may pass into our community passing functions here as a technology which relates physical movement with identity formation to pass through a space requires passing as a particular kind of subject one whose difference is unmarked and unremarkable the double possibility of passing commands the nation’s right and will to keep looking for signs of difference and justifies violent forms of into the bodies of others indeed the possibility that we might not be able to tell the difference Swift Lake converts into the possibility that any of those incoming bodies may be bogus in advance of their arrival they are hence read as the cause of an injury to the national body now how does the presentation of asylum as injury work through the proximity between figures of hate the figure of the bogus asylum seeker may evoke the figure of the bogeyman a figure who stalks the nation and haunts its capacity to secure its borders the bogeyman could be anywhere in any one as a ghost-like figure in the present who gives us nightmares about the future as an anticipated future of injury we see him again and again such figures of hate circulate and indeed accumulate effective value precisely because they do not have a fixed referent so the figures of the bogus asylum seeker is detached from particular bodies any incoming bodies could be bogus such that their endless arrival is anticipated as the scene of our injury the impossibility of reducing hate to a particular body allows heat to circulate an economic sense working to differentiate some others from other others a differentiation that is never over as it awaits for others who have not yet arrived such a discourse of waiting for the bogus justifies the repetition of violence against the bodies of others heggs speech speeches also produce certain effects through temporal proximity to another speech about Tony Martin a man sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a 16 year old boy who had attempted to burgle his house in a rural area of England one sentence of Haig Haig circulates powerfully Hank argued without reference to Martin or asylum-seekers that the law is more interested in the rights of criminals than and the rights of people who are burgled such a sentence evokes a history that is not declared here what sticks may also be what resists literalization and in doing so it positions Martin as the victim and not as a criminal the victim of the murderer is now the criminal the crime that did not happen because of the murder the burglary takes the place of the murder as the true crime and as the real injustice this reversal of the victim criminal relationship becomes an implicit defence of the right to kill those who in will unlawfully enter ones property the detachment of the sentence allows two cases to get stuck together burglary and asylum which now both become matters of the right to defense the figure of the asylum seeker hence gets aligned with the figure of the burglar the alignment does important work it suggests that the asylum seeker is stealing something from the nation the characteristics of one figure get displaced or transferred onto the other or we could say that it is through the association between figures that they acquire a life of their own as they can art as if they can as if they contained effective quality or we could say that it is through the association between figures that they acquire life of their own as if they contain defective quality the burglar became a foreigner and the asylum seeker becomes a criminal at the same time the body of the murderer who has renamed as the victim becomes the body of the nation the one whose property and well-being is under threat by the forced proximity of the other as such the alignment of figures works as a narrative of defense the nation / national subject must defend itself against invasion by others such a defensive narrative is not explicitly articulated but rather works through the movement between figures the circulation does its work it produces a differentiation between quote us and them thereby they are constituted as the cause or the justification of our feelings of hate indeed we can see how attachment involves a sliding between pain and hate there is a perceived injury in which the others burglar / bogus proximity is felt as the violence of negation against both the body of the individual here the farmer and the body of the nation we can see that the effectivity of hate is what makes it difficult to pin down to locate in a body object or figure this difficulty is what makes emotions such as hate worked the way that they do it is not the impossibility of hate as such but the mode of its operation whereby it’s surf it surfaces in the world made up of other bodies in other words it is the failure of emotions to be located in a body object or figures that allows emotions to reproduce or generate the effects that they do fear bodies and objects I now want to relate my model of emotion as effective economy specifically to fear and the materialization of bodies significantly fear is an emotion that is often characterized as being about its object and hence would not seem to work in the economic sense I have defined above indeed fear has often been contrasted with anxiety insofar as fear has an object for example example Stan Lee Rahman argues that anxiety can be described as the tense anticipation of a threatening but vague event or the feeling of an uneasy suspense while fear is described as an emotional reaction to a threat that is identifiable I want to question this model by suggesting that fear is linked to the passing by of the object we can consider for instance that the narrative of asylum seekers swapping the nation works as a narrative of fear fear works to create a sense of being overwhelmed rather than being contained in an object fear as I type intensified by the impossibility of containment if the others who are feared pass by then the others might pass their way into the community and could be anywhere and everywhere Heidegger also suggests that fear is intensified when it ceases to be contained by an object that approaches he suggests quote that which is detrimental as something that threatens us is not yet within striking distance but is coming close as it draws close this it can and yet it may not become aggravated we say it is fearsome this applies that what is detrimental is coming close carries with it the paten possibility that it may stay away and pass us by but instead of lessening or extinguishing our fearing listen is it crucially Heidegger relates fear to that which is not yet in the present at in either the spatial or temporal sense of the here-and-now fear response to that which is approaching rather than already here it is the Futurity of fear which makes it possible that the object of fear rather than arriving might pass us by but the passing by the object of fear does not mean the overcoming of fear rather the possibility of the loss of the object that approaches makes what is fearsome all the more fearsome if fear has an object then fear can be contained by the object when the object of fear threatens to pass by then fear can no longer be contained by an object fear in its very relationship to an object in the very intensity of its directness towards that object is intensified by the loss of its object we could characterize this absence as about being not quite present rather than as with anxiety being nowhere at all or anxiety becomes attached to particular objects which come to life not as the cause of anxiety but as an effect of its travels in anxiety one’s thoughts often move quickly between different objects a movement that works to intensify the sense of anxiety one thinks of more and more things to be anxious about the detachment from one given object allows anxiety to accumulate in other words anxiety tends to stick to objects given this anxiety becomes an approach to objects rather than as with fear being produced by an object’s approach the slide between fear and anxiety is affected precisely by the passing by of the object furthermore fears relationship to the potential disappearance of an object is more profound than simply a relationship to the object of fear in other words it is not just fear that is at stake in fear for Freud fears themselves may function as symptoms as mechanisms for the defence of the ego against danger in his essay inhibitions symptoms and anxiety Freud returns to the little Hans case Hans had a phobic relationship to horses Freud argues that this fear is itself a symptom that has been put in the place of another fear one that much more profoundly threatens the ego the fear of castration Hans can manage his fear of horses through avoidance in a way that he could not in at his fear of the Father we might remember that in Freud’s model of unconscious emotions the effect itself is not repressed rather what is repressed is the idea to which the effect was attached so the effect of fear is sustained through the displacement between objects the displacement between objects works also to link those objects together such linkages are not created by fear but may already be in place within the social imaginary in the Freudian model the movement between objects is intrapsychic and goes backward it refers back to the primary fear of castration or to be more specific the sideways movement between objects in this case the horse and the father is itself explained as determined by a repression of the idea to which the effect was originally attached the threat of castration I would suggest that the sideways movement between objects which works to stick objects together as science of threat is shaped by multiple histories the movement between signs does not have its origin in the psyche but is a trace of how histories remain alive in the present we can consider for instance how the language of racism sustains fear through displacement and how the surfaces through bodies take the following quote from friends font phenols black skin white masks quote frontspin olds about black skin white masks quote my body was given back to me sprawled out distorted recolored clad in mourning in the white winter day the Negro is an animal the Negro was bad the Negro was mean the Negro was ugly look it’s an n-word it’s cold the n-word is shivering because he is cold the little boy is trembling because he is afraid of the n-word the n-word is shivering with cold that cold that goes through your bones the handsome little boy is trembling because he thinks that the n-word is curved when covering with rage the little boy throws himself into his mother’s arms mama the n-word is going to eat me up here fear is felt as coldness it makes bodies shiver with a cold that moves from the surface into the depths of the body as a cold that goes through your bone fear boats envelops the bodies that feel it as well as constructs those bodies as enveloped as contained by it as if it comes from the outside and moves inward in the encounter fear does not bring the bodies together it is not a shared feeling but works to differentiate between white and black bodies the white child miss recognizes the Shivering of the black body as rage and hence as the grounds for its fear in other words the other is only red as fearsome through misrecognition a reading that is returned by the black other through its response of fear as a fear of the white subjects fear this is not to say that the fear comes from the white body as if it is the origin of that fear and its author rather fear opens up past histories that stick to the present in the very reversal of childhood fantasies about being eaten up that take on the value of social norms as truths about the other and allow the white body to be constructed as a part from the black body we might note here that fear does something it reestablishes distance between bodies whose difference is read off the surface as a reading that reproduces the surface shivering recoloring but what is very clear here is that the object of fear remains the black man who comes to fuel the fear as his own as threatening his existence fear does not come from within the subject nor does it reside in its object we are not afraid of others because they are fearsome through the circulation of signs of fear the black other becomes fearsome but doesn’t this example show us that fear does get contained by an object in this place case the black man to some extent this is right the circulation of signs of fear does lead to containment for some and movement for others here fear gets contained in a body which henceforth becomes an object of fear indeed the white child’s apparent fear does not lead to containment but an expansion indeed the white child’s apparent fear does not lead to containment but an expansion his embrace of the world is suggested by how he reestablishes himself as being at home the embrace of the mother as a return home it is the black subject the one who fears the impact of the white child’s fear who is crushed by that fear by being sealed into a body that takes up less space in other words fear works to restrict some bodies through the movement or expansion of others but this containment is an effect of movement between signs as well as bodies such movements depend on past histories of association negro animal bad mean ugly in other words it is the movement of fear between signs which allows the object of fear to be generated in the present the Negro is an animal bad mean ugly the movement between signs is what allows others to be attributed with emotional value in this case as being fearsome and the attribution that depends on a history that sticks and which does not need to be declared the containment is provisional insofar as the black man is the object of fear that he may pass by indeed the physicality of his passing by can be associated with the passing of fear between signs it is the movement that intensifies effect the black man becomes even more threatening if he passes by his proximity is imagined then as the possibility of future injury as such the economy of fear works to contain the bodies of others a containment whose success relies on its failure as it must keep open the very grounds of fear in this sense fear works as an effective economy despite how it seems directed towards an object fear does not reside in a particular object or sign and it is this lack of residence that allows fear to slide across science and between bodies this sliding becomes stuck only temporarily in the very attachment of a sign to a human body whereby the sign sticks to a body by constituting as the object of fear a constitution taken on by the body encircling it with a fear that then becomes its own the sideways movement of fear where we have a metonymic and sticky relation between signs is also a backward movement objects of fear becomes substituted for each other over time this substitution involves the passing by of the objects for which the subject seems to flee fear and anxiety create the very effect of that which I am NOT through the very effect of turning away from an object which nevertheless threatens as it passes buyer is displaced to this extent fear does not involve the defense of borders that already exists rather fear makes those borders by establishing objects from which the subject in fearing can stand apart objects that become the knot from which the subject appears to flee through fear not only is the very border between self and other affected but the relation between the objects feared rather than simply the relation between object and its objects is shaped by histories that stick by making some objects more than others seem fearsome global economies of fear we can think more precisely about the processes through which fear works to secure forms of the collectives my argument is not that there is a psychic economy of fear that then becomes social and collective rather the individual subject comes into being through it’s very alignment with the collective it is the very failure of effect to be located in the subject or object that allows it to generate the surfaces of collective bodies the complexity of the spatial and bodily politics of fear has perhaps never been so apparent and in the global economies of fear since September 11th there is of course named in the very naming of terrorism terrorists are immediately identified as agents of extreme fear that is those who seek to make others afraid less mobile or less free to move as well as those who seek to cause death and destruction as the Australian Prime Minister John Howard puts it bin Laden’s hatred for the United States and for a world system built on individual freedom religious tolerance democracy and the International free flow of Commerce means that he wants to spread fear create uncertainty and promote instability hoping that this will cause communities and countries to turn against one another Howard then reads the acts of terror has attacks not only on the mobility of international capital but also on the mobility of the bodies of Australians on their right to move around the world with ease and freedom and without fear I would like to offer an alternative reading of what moves and what sticks inferior economies one that differentiates between forms of mobility as well a different different kinds of bodily enclosure containment or detainment in the first instance we can imagine how the mobility of the bodies of subjects in the West while presented as threatened is also defended along with the implicit defense of the mobility of capital in the global economy whereby capital is constructed as clean money and defined ins the dirty money of terrorism which much must be frozen or blocked the most immediate instruction made to subjects and citizens in America Australia and Britain was to go about your daily business to travel to spend or consume and so on as a way of refusing to be a victim of terror indeed in the United States citizens were in effect asks not to fear and the nation was represented as not being afraid as a way of showing the failure of the terrorist act attacks to destroy the nation as george w bush put it it is natural to wonder if America’s future is one of fear some speak of an age of terror I know there are struggles ahead and dangers to face but this country will define our times not be defined by them as long as the United States is determined and strong this will not be an age of Terror the nation is constructed as having prevailed through refusing to transform its vulnerability and wounds into fear a response that would be read in terms of this narrative as determination by terror rather than self-determination Bush then an act of self-determination turned the act of terror into an act of war which would seek to eliminate the source of fear and transform the world into a place where the mobility of some capital and sub bodies becomes a sign of freedom and civilization this suggests that the effect of terror was not containment but provided the very grounds for immobilization this is not to say however that individuals and groups have not experienced fear in response to the events the effects of fear are clear in for example the huge reduction in air travel however we need to think about this containment carefully without assuming that fear simply brings people together or that containment is the only effect of such fear as I have already noted following Heidegger the object of fear may pass by and this structural possibility is part of the lived perience of fear while the events did happen and did constitute an object however much it passed by a passing by that was already at stake in a living out of the present given the mediate ization of the event as event that fiercely quickly into anxiety in which what was at stake was not the approach of an object but an approach to an object the approach to the event in which it is repeated and transformed into a fetish object involved forms of alignment whereby individuals aligned themselves with the nation as being under attack this of course repeats the process of alignment whereby the nation aligned itself with individuals as having been or being attacked now what is crucial here is not just that this alignment might restrict the mobility of individuals who now feel themselves in a way that is personal to be terrorist targets rather the mediating work of this alignment experiences of fear become lived as patriotic declarations of love which allowed home itself to be mobilized as a defense against terror if subjects stayed at home that homes become transformed into the symbolic space of the nation to their widespread use of American flags this is not to say that the meaning of flags is necessary to its circulation as if such Flags could only signify national love rather we can consider how the flag is a sticky sign whereabouts stickiness allows it to stick to other flag signs which gives the impression of coherence the nation s sticking together the flag is a sign that has historically signified territorial conquest as well as love for the nation patriotism has effects in its terms of the displays of witness where a by one is with others and against other others George Packer in an article in the New York Times Magazine expressed as well as Flags bloomed like flowers I found they tapped emotion as quickly as pictures of the missing to me these flags didn’t represent flag flabby complacence but alertness grief resolved even love they evoked fellow-feeling flirt with Americans for with where we had been attacked together the turning away from the object of fear hence may involve a turning toward home as a fellow feeling that turning toward involves the repetition or reiteration of science fellowship that turning could even be understood as compulsory not to display a flag can be read as a sign of a lack of fellowship or even as the origin of terror to paraphrase George W Bush if you do not show us you are with us you would be seen as against us fear mediated by love as identification with the nation which becomes to adhere as an effect of signs of love does not necessarily shrink bodies the turning away from the object of fear here involves a turning towards home fear mediated by this form of love love is identification does not necessarily shrink bodies but may even allow them to occupy more space to the identification with the collective body which stands in for the individual body and moves on its behalf in other words the apparent containment of some bodies in the United States functions as a form of mobilization staying at home allows the mobilization of bodies through the symbolic identification with the nation at war in george w bush’s State of the Union address in 2002 the effect of this identification is clear It was as if our entire country looked into the mirror and saw our better selves hence the United States is defined as caught by its own reflection in the mirror a catching out that borders on collective narcissism self-love becomes a national love that legitimizes legitimates the response to terror as the protection of loved ones who are with me we’re a by witness is premised on signs of likeness and wearable likeness becomes an imperative or a condition of survival so if the event of terror of seeking to cause fear leads to a defense of the mobility of capital and the mobilisation of some bodies through both the defense of the home as nation and the identification with the nation then who is contained through terror whose vulnerability is at stake as has been well documented the events of September 11th have been used to justify the detention of anybody suspected of being terrorists not only was their immediate detention of suspects in the United States and European countries but governments in the West have responded to the terror by enacting legislation that increases the governmental rights to taint suspected of being a terrorist the British amendment to the Terrorism Act 2000 states that the Secretary of State may issue a certificate if he believes that the person’s presence ignited Kingdom is a risk to national security or he suspects the person is an international terrorist here risk assessment becomes a matter of belief and suspicion itself becomes the grounds for detention the extension of the powers of detention is not merely symbolic nor does it merely relate to the detention of terrorists given the structural possibility that anybody could be a terrorist what we have reinstituted and extended is the power of detention as such however the structural possibility that anyone could be a terrorist does not translate into everybody being affected by the extension of powers of detention in the same way it is well documented that people have been detained because of very weak links between them and terrorist networks often involving simple links through names or workplaces or residence areas TDR Zoll Berg considers this process a form of racial profiling quoting details reported in The New Yorker of the 1147 people detained in the United States between September 11th and November 2001 some were identified on the basis of circumstantial links with the attack but many were picked up on the basis of tips over people of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent who had been stopped for traffic violations or for acting suspiciously as Munir ahmed describes after September 11th there was an unrelenting multivalent assault on the body psyches and rights of Arab Muslim and South Asian immigrants indeed letti volt suggests that the responses to September 11th facilitated a new identity category that groups together people who appear Middle Eastern Arab or Muslim the recognition of such groups of people as could be terrorists depends on stereotypes already in place at the same time as it generates a distinct category of the fearsome in the present we can recall price precisely the repetition of stereotypes about the black man in the encounter described by friend’s phone all this repetition works by generating the other as an object of fear a fear that is then taken on as its importantly the word terrorist sticks to somebody’s as it reopens past histories of naming just as it slides into other words in the accounts of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq such as fundamentalism Islam Arab representative repressive primitive indeed the slide of men anomie metonymy can function as an implicit argument about the causal relationships between terms such as Islam and terrorism within the making of truths and worlds but in such a way that it does not require an explicit statement the work done by metonymy means that it can remake links it can stick words like terrorist and Islam together even when arguments are made that seem to unmake those links utterances like this is not a war against Islam coexist with description such as Islamic terrorists which work to restate the words together and constant constant their coincidence as more than the sliding between signs also involves sticking signs to bodies the bodies who could be terrorists are the ones who might look Muslim given that the event became an object that allowed certain forms of violence and detention of others in the name of defense made to ask what role the security play in the effective politics of fear importantly security is bound up with the knot what is not me or not us as Michael no Dylan has suggested security is not simply about securing a border that already exists nor is fear simply a fear of what we are not as I argued in the previous section anxiety and fear create a very the very effect of borders and their very effect of that which we are not partly through how we turn away from the other whom we imagined as the cause of our fear borders are constructed and indeed police on the very feeling that they have already been transgressed the other has has to get too close in order to be recognized as an object of fear and in order for the object to be displaced the transgression of the border is required in order for it to be secured as a border in the first place this is why the politics of fear as well as hate is narrated as a border anxiety fear speaks the language of floods and so of being invaded by inappropriate others against whom the nation must defend itself we can reflect then on the anthology of insecurity within the constant Constitution of the political it must be presumed that things are not secure in and of themselves in order to justify the imperative to make things secure more specifically it is through announcing a crisis and security that new forms of security border policing and surveillance become justified we only have to think about how narratives of crisis are used within politics to justify a return to values and traditions that are perceived to be under threat it is not simply that these crises exist and that fears and anxieties come into being as a necessary effect of that existence rather it is the very production of the crisis that is crucial to declare a crisis is not to make something out of nothing such declarations often work with real events facts or figures as we can see for example and how the rise and divorce rates is used to announce a crisis in marriage and the family but the declaration of crisis reads the fact figure event and transforms it into a fetish object that then acquires a life of its own in other words that can become the grounds for declarations of war against that which is read as the source of the threat through designating something as already under threat in the present that very thing becomes installed as the truth which we must fight for in the future a fight that is retrospectively understood to be a matter of life and death indeed it is the fear of death of the death of oneself ones loved ones ones community ones people that is generated by such narratives to preserve or maintain that which is so I might fear for myself for us or on behalf of others since September 11th the deaths have become symbolic of that which is under threat not only by terrorists those who take life but by all that the possibility of terrorism stands for a possibility linked by some commentators to internal forms of weakness such as secularization multiculturalism and the decline of social and familial ties for example Jerry Falwell the United States argued I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make an alternative lifestyle all of them who have tried to secularize America I point the finger in their face and say you help this happen in the United States the British National Party’s response to September 11th was to posit this Lammas ization within the United Kingdom rather than the Taliban in Afghanistan as the threat to the moral future of the nation itself quote they can turn Britain into an Islamic Republic by 2025 this attribution of the crime of terror to the weakening of religious religion and community posed by the presence of various others has been of course condemned within mainstream politics although noticeably with less of an disgust reaction than how some critics of u.s. foreign policy have been received however at the same time a broader set of assumptions around what would be required to defend the nation in the world strengthening the will of the community in the face of others both displaces and reworks the narrative logic instead of an internal weakness being posited as responsible for this event we have an internal strength being positive as responsible for recovery survival and moving beyond fear as george w bush put it these acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat but they have failed our country is strong the response to terror becomes a way of strengthening the bonds of the nation in the global community of free nations the wound of charity requires sticking together adherence as coherence and using the values that make America and democracy quote strong indeed the emphasis on security in george w bush’s State of the Union address in 2002 includes the transformation of democratic citizenship into policing and as government works to secure our homeland America will continue to depend on the eyes and ears of alert citizens citizenship is here translated into a form of neighborhood watch the citizen must look out for suspicious others citizenship works as a way to police the boundaries of neighborhoods the role of citizens as police is translated as an imperative to love in which love becomes the foundation of community as well as the guarantor of our future our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our communities we need mentors to love children the definition of values that will allow America to prevail in the face of terror values that have been named as freedom love and compassion involves the defense of particular institutional and social forms against the danger posed by others such values function to define not only a deal’s that supposedly govern war aims and objectives but democratic norms of behavior and conduct of what it means to be civil a civil society and a legitimate government to be brought into international civil society that is to not be named as a rogue state are part of the axis of evil others must mimic these rules of conduct and forms of governance henceforth the emphasis on values truths and norms that will allow survival slides easily into the defense of particular social forms or institutions we might note here that these social forms become identified as better by being defined as open liberal democracy and with it a weak model of racial and religious tolerance as well as an apparent liberal support for feminism become defined as what is good about the United States in opposition to the closed and fundamentalist politics of the Islamic other hence respect for women and religious tolerance become divine defined as two of the values that make America and the free world strong such an argument allows the war to be narrated as saving women from religious fundamentalism this is a familiar narrative and one that has a long Imperial history as many feminist critics have argued such a narrative overlooks not only the heterogeneity of other cultures and the existence of women’s resistance and feminist networks in Islamic worlds including in Afghanistan but also the maintenance of gendered as well as other forms of oppression in the United States and the so-called free world we need to think about the political effects of this hierarchy between open and closed cultures and show how the constitution of open cultures involves the per deck project of what is closed unto others and hence the concealment of what is closed and contained at home furthermore the fear of degeneration as a mechanism for preserving social forms become associated more with some bodies than with others the threat of some others to social forms which are the materialization of norms is represented as the threat of turning away from the values that will guarantee survival these various others come to embody the failure of the norm to take form it is the proximity of such other bodies that causes the fear that formed some civilization the family the community the nation an international civil society have degenerated those who speak out against the truth of this world become aligned then with the terrorists we’re seeking to cause the ruin of the world what is important then is that the narratives that seek to preserve the present through working on anxieties of death as the necessary consequence of the demise of social forms also seek to locate that anxiety in some bodies which then take on fetish qualities as objects of fear such bodies engendered even more fear as they cannot be held in places objects and threatened to pass by that is we may fail to see that those forms that have failed to be it is always possible that we might not be able to tell the difference the present hence becomes preserved by defending the community against the imagined others who may take form in ways that cannot be anticipated a not yet Ness that means the work of defense is never over such defenses generated by anxiety and fear for the future and justifies the elimination or exclusion of that which fails to materialize in the form of the norm as a struggle for survival insofar as we do not know what forum us others other other others may take those who fail to materialize in the forms that are lived as norms the policies of continual surveillance of emergent forms is sustained as an ongoing project of survival it is here that we can deepen our reflections on the role of the figure of the terrorists within economies of fear crucially the narrative that justifies the expansion of the powers to detain others within the nation and the potential expansion of the war itself to other nations relies on the structural possibility that the terrorists could be anyone and anywhere the narrative of the could be terrorists in which the terrorist is the one who hides in the shadows has a double edge on the one hand to the figure of the terrorists is detached from particular bodies as a shadowy figure an unspecified may come to pass but it is this could be necessitate which also allows restriction on the mobility of those bodies who are read is associated with terrorism Islam Arab Asian East fear sticks to these bodies and to the bodies of road states that could be terrorists where the could be opens up the power to detain although such fear sticks it also slides across such bodies it is the structural possibility that the terrorists may pass us by that justifies the expansion of these forms of intelligence surveillance and the rights of detention fear works here to expand the mobility of some bodies and contain others precisely insofar as it does not reside positively in any one body as Samuel Weber puts it when terrorism is defined as an international it becomes difficult to locate situate personify and identify and it is this difficulty that justifies the expansions of power and the state it is important to recognize that the figure of the international terrorists has been mobilized in close proximity to the figure of the asylum seeker the slide between these two figures does an enormous amount of work it assumes that those who seek asylum who flee from terror and persecution may be bogus insofar as they could be the very agents of terror and persecution they like terrorists are identified as potential burglars as unlawful intruders into the nation in Australia for example the refusal to allow the boat Tampa into its waters with this cargo of 433 asylum seekers many of whom were family Janice tan those retrospectively justified on the grounds that those on board could be linked to Osama bin Laden the sticking together of the figures of the asylum seeker and the international terrorist which already evokes other figures the burglar the bogeyman constructs those who are without home as sources of our fear and as reasons for new forms of border policing whereby the future is always a threat posed by others who may pass by and pass their way into the community the slide of metonymy works to generate or make likeness the asylum seeker is like the terrorist an agent of fear who may destroy our home the slide between figures involves the containment of others who henceforth become the objects of fear the containment of the bodies of others affected by this economy of fear is most chillingly and violently revealed in the literal deaths of those seeking asylum in containers deaths that remain unmourned by the very nations who embody the hope of a future for those seeking asylum this is a chilling reminder of what is at stake in the effective economies of fear you


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