Assassinations are an unsettling feature of South Asian politics. Haunting the body politic in spectacular and spectral forms, these deaths have an uncanny way of transforming political life. This article turns attention to the afterlives of these killings in order to explore the semiotic and sociopolitical technologies through which assassinations—and public killings of other kinds—take life. Introducing nekros/thanatos as the necrotic equivalent to the zoê/bios distinction that has been central to the study of biopolitics, the article plots a pursuit of—and analytics for—the unruly forms of death and killing among us today. Figured against a backdrop of expanding homicidal forms (including algorithmic drone strikes, web-streamed beheadings, suicide bombings, etc.), assassinations prove a particularly timely—if scary—problem to consider. Assassinations put to us urgent questions about not just how we live after the horrors of political killings but also how we live with them.
Research Article|January 01 2018
The Afterlives of a Killing: Assassination, Thanatos, and the Body Politic in South Asia
Public Culture (2018) 30 (1): 85-112.
Townsend Middleton; The Afterlives of a Killing: Assassination, Thanatos, and the Body Politic in South Asia. Public Culture 1 January 2018; 30 (1): 85–112. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-4189179
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