Building on conclusions drawn from research conducted in Latin America and Europe, this text develops an argument in two movements. In the first movement, it traces the genealogy of the international circulation of the categories disappeared and forced disappearance of persons and explores possible reasons that explain its current success, as these categories are used for thinking about, managing, and inhabiting situations of extreme precariousness, but which are nonetheless very different from the original cases of forced disappearance. The second movement involves developing a concept with aspirations of becoming a tool for thinking about the bad life: the concept of social disappeared. The author argues that it is feasible to turn the categories of disappeared and disappearance into tools for understanding a universe filled with places that are outside the norm, places of dislocated identities, of sufferers, of escapees, of abandonment, of waste, of pariahs, of precarious individuals, of the vulnerable. Can the social disappeared be an explanans for the bad life?
The Social Disappeared: Genealogy, Global Circulations, and (Possible) Uses of a Category for the Bad Life
Gabriel Gatti is a professor at the University of the Basque Country, Department of Sociology 2 (Spain). He is the principal investigator of the research project Disappeared/Desapariciones and author of several books, including Surviving Forced Disappearance in Argentina and Uruguay (2014).
Gabriel Gatti; The Social Disappeared: Genealogy, Global Circulations, and (Possible) Uses of a Category for the Bad Life. Public Culture 1 January 2020; 32 (1): 25–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-7816281
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