This article argues that the phrase “monopoly of violence,” which circulates in so many contemporary academic critiques of the liberal state, is not adequate to describe the nature of violence deployed by settler colonial societies against indigenous and racialized bodies. Settler colonialism depends on a mode of popular sovereignty that serves primarily as a diffusion of the necropolitical power of the colonizing polity rather than as a check on the tyranny of the state. Through a consideration of an assemblage of unlikely contemporary objects—Glenn Beck's 2013 keynote address to the National Rifle Association, Antonio Negri's monograph Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State, and Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained—it explores how European and Euro-American imaginings of constituent power can serve to reinforce settler colonial political traditions rather than offer an alternative.
Alex Trimble Young; The Settler Unchained: Constituent Power and Settler Violence. Social Text 1 September 2015; 33 (3 (124)): 1–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-3125680
Download citation file: