This inquiry concerns the majoritarian right governing Sri Lanka instantiated through state counterinsurgency, extrajudicial violence, and symbiotic ideologies of postwar “reconciliation” and political disaffection. Majoritarian right is a predicative apparatus instating both a politics of measure and a politics of the discountable. It commences a majority/minority fracture as a constitutive antagonism in which the majority and the minority unfold as two irreconcilable di-visible figures for envisioning the one entity—the majoritarian nation. In Sri Lanka this right fabricated a postpublic sphere, overdetermined by opposition to transnational humanitarian intervention and by increasing tolerance of extrajudicial violence. I interrogate and relate two indexical episodes: (1) the practices and discourses of the Sri Lankan security apparatus, media, and feminists concerning the detention and torture of a sex worker; (2) prescriptions of minoritarian disaffection and disposability advanced by three prominent Sri Lankan “liberal-left” public intellectuals in support of the state’s concluding 2009 assault on Tamils in “no-fire zones” and detention camps. Majoritarian right manufactures a disaffected “rabble” without social composition, civil objectivity, or rights. The Hegelian rabble is a condition of permanent distress (Notrecht) and rightlessness marked by its unrealized and unrealizable integration into society. The rabble emerges as a right without right in strip searches, civilian free-fire “no-fire” zones, and detention camps where the minority and the rabble were compressed in the same tortured, raped, murdered, and disappeared bodies. The thousands of disappeared, executed and buried in secret graves commemorated the terminal conversion of the classifiable minority into the discountable rabble.
Research Article|December 01 2013
Mangalika de Silva; No Longer a “Whore,” Not Yet a “Terrorist,” Never a Citizen: Majoritarian Right and the Rabble. Social Text 1 December 2013; 31 (4 (117)): 1–24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2349004
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