Drawing on ethnographic encounters and investigative analysis, this article relays how Gaza’s spatial confinement generally, and the Israeli incursion of summer 2014 in particular, has lent itself to a radicalized discursive interplay between the animalization of humans and the humanization of animals who live in Gaza. I show how human animals—Israelis and Palestinians, children and terrorists—as well as nonhuman animals—snakes, zoo animals, dogs, mice, lions, insects, zebras, donkeys, chickens, and beasts—perform detailed daily rituals of humanization, dehumanization, and animalization. By defining the degrees of their relative humanity and animality, these rituals render life and death more or less worthy. I coin the term zoometrics to refer to the detailed calculations of biopolitical worthiness that occur within and along the animal-human divide. Such zoometric accounts highlight the slippages between bestialized and humanized bodies, exacerbated by these bodies’ shared conditions of extreme captivity in Gaza.
Captive: Zoometric Operations in Gaza
Irus Braverman is a professor of law and an adjunct professor of geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the author of Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine (2009), Zooland: The Institution of Captivity (2012), and Wild Life: The Institution of Nature (2015) and editor of The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography (with Nicholas Blomley, David Delaney, and Alexandre Kedar; 2014) and Animals, Biopolitics, Law: Lively Legalities (2016).
Irus Braverman; Captive: Zoometric Operations in Gaza. Public Culture 1 January 2017; 29 (1 (81)): 191–215. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-3644457
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