This article interrogates the shortfalls of neoliberal democracy and its political practices for citizen (and noncitizen) subjects in the United States by drawing on ethnographic research of a diverse group of second-generation Asian and Pacific Islander youth's attempt to challenge the deportation of Cambodian refugees. In following the young people's campaign to put an end to deportation, I examine the convergence of youth's failed recognition by the state as a nonvoting youth constituency with their realization of the state's exercise of “illegitimate” violence. Their activism calls into question the practices of imperial statecraft and categories of possible democratic citizenship in pursuit of a new political imaginary.
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Copyright 2012 by Duke University Press