Session 6A: Necropolitics and the State

Session 6A

Necropolitics and the State
4.22.2017 | 1:50p-3:05p | Laurel Hall 107

While State-level discourse and policy is often treated as neutral, the analyses emerging from this session demonstrate how exclusionary formations of ‘citizens’ relegate some bodies as illegitimate, transgressive, and worthy of policing. By using cases coming out of two countries – the Netherlands and Mexico – we shall see which bodies are included and which are left out of the equation.

Moderator: Roberta Villalón, PhD (Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology & Anthropology; St. Johns’ University)

Participant Abstracts

Rachell Sanchez Rivera (Latin American Studies; University of Cambridge-Queens College)
Obstetric Violence and Eugenics in Mexico

My work focuses on how Mexican sexuality in its relation to eugenics becomes a key element in the nation building process from the last third of 19th Century onwards. This series of practices and discourses disseminates which bodies are deemed acceptable for the reproduction of imaginary ideas that construct the nation. Simultaneously, they determine who should be able to reproduce and who should not. Since the last third of the 19th Century, one can start to note how the Mexican nation building process is so embedded in racialized ideas, eugenic beliefs, gendered logic, class thought and so on. These elements shape political, social, economic and cultural thought throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries. The fact that there are bodies that should not be able to reproduce under the “truth of science” justifies the notion that deems acceptable practices of sterilization to a sector of Mexican women without their full and informed consent.

Nathalie Chara (Sociology Instructor at El Centro College | Gender, Sexuality, and Society; Universiteit van Amsterdam – 2016)
The Deconstructed Juvenile Sex Offender, Intersectionality and Integration
A Discourse Analysis of Juvenile Sex Offender Research in the Netherlands

The concept of ‘juvenile sex offender’ is quite novel in the Netherlands. First emerging in 2002, the ensuing research has provided an interesting construction of the problem that relies heavily on gendered, racialized, and class-based assumptions. This intersectional construction has created different representations of the problem with varied meanings, implications, and effects. At the core, the overarching problem representation suggests that the problem is concentrated in boys who are violent, come from ethnic neighborhoods, are children of non-western immigrants and as such are deemed not knowledgeable about Western sexuality. As a result, these representations have the potential to produce severe consequences as they target specific people and, in many cases, specific neighborhoods. Interestingly, class can be found at an unusual intersection. Within this discourse, class is developed and functions as a metaphor or replacement concept for race. Class is actively transformed into a concept with specific racial connotations and far-reaching consequences. In unpacking these constructions, this thesis challenges the current problem representations and argues that these assumptions are indicative of a wider process happening in the Netherlands.