Bared and grievable: Theory impossible in No Man's Land

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Abstract

Pedriali capitalizes on the ambiguous operations performed in No Man’s Land during the First World War to enter into productive friction with dominant theoretical positions—namely, Agamben’s spatiality of the ban and Butler’s ungrievable lives. No Man’s Land, as Pedriali demonstrates, did not only recruit for war by becoming the spatial pointer for total mobilization. It also reinforced, in the immediate logistics of the frontline, the demarcation between civilizational space (qualified life) and unrestrained devastation (within the enclosure of the ban). As the two sides of No Man’s Land are shown feeding human capital into a shared concentrationary zone of destruction of owned blood, this culling operation on the nation by the nation allows Pedriali to explode two of the core tenets of Agamben’s and Butler’s biopolitics—that bare life is primarily and radically other (other blood), and that it will not be grieved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobilizing Cultural Identities in the First World War
Subtitle of host publicationHistory, Representations and Memory
EditorsFederica G Pedriali, Cristina Savettieri
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter7
Pages149-181
Number of pages33
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9783030427917
ISBN (Print)9783030427900
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • human capital and war
  • No Man’s Land
  • puer sacer
  • grievable lives
  • Giorgio Agamben
  • Judith Butler
  • Michel Foucault

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