Bored to Death
This chapter explores the affective dimensions of biopolitics in a consumer society. The chapter focuses on low-skilled workers who no longer hold hope of being reintegrated into the regular workforce. Instead of being retrained for future employment, these homeless and unemployed men have been abandoned to the margins of the city. As these men are left in a state of what Michel Foucault calls “letting die,” the chapter explores ethnographically how the homeless endure social death and the widely shared structure of feeling brought about by living through the prolonged experience of one’s own dying out. Deterioration, for these men, becomes the defining condition of everyday life. As this chapter illustrates, ultimately, the brutality of “letting die” is not a state of exception set apart from society. It is part of the everyday logic of globalization.