The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability

Jasbir K. Puar

£23.99

In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability.

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ISBN: 9780822369189 Categories: , Tags: ,

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In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability’s interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.

“Jasbir Puar’s work in The Right to Maim is crucial to understanding not only that the nature of settler colonialism is genocidal but also how that genocidal nature operates.” — Fred Moten, Social Text

“In signature style, Jasbir K. Puar takes readers across multiple social and textual terrains in order to demonstrate the paradoxical embrace of the politics of disability in liberal biopolitics. Puar argues that even as liberalism expands its care for the disabled, it increasingly debilitates workers, subalterns, and others who find themselves at the wrong end of neoliberalism. Rather than simply celebrating the progressive politics of disability, trans identity, and gay youth health movements, The Right to Maim shows how each is a complex interchange of the volatile politics of precarity in contemporary biopower.” — Elizabeth A. Povinelli, author of Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism

“Jasbir K. Puar’s latest book offers us a new vocabulary for understanding disability, debility, and capacity, three terms that anchor a sharp and provocative analysis of biopolitics of neoliberalism, police power, and militarization. Gaining recognition for disability within terms that instrumentalize and efface its meanings carries a great risk. So too does opting out of discourse altogether. Puar references a wide range of scholarly and activist resources to show how maiming becomes a deliberate goal in the continuing war on Palestine, and how the powers of whiteness deflect from the demographics of disability and ability. Lastly, her deft understanding of how the attribution of ‘capacity’ can work for and against people in precarious positions will prove crucial for a wiser and more radical struggle for justice.” — Judith Butler

“Jasbir K. Puar’s The Right to Maim is obligatory reading for anyone concerned with the continuing operation and the ethical and political implications of racial power. By exploring the production of the ‘disabled subject’ as both a reiteration of how whiteness organizes the modern political text and an effect of the unleashing of the racial logic of obliteration (in US and Palestinian cities), Puar exposes the complexities and compromises troubling articulations of subjects of rights/protection.” — Denise Ferreira Da Silva, author of Toward a Global Idea of Race

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