Equality Claims and Population Control
Keywords:critical race theory, intersectionality, state violence, prison abolition, immigration control, social movements
Critical Race Theory generally and intersectionality theory in particular have provided scholars and activists with clear accounts of how the legal approaches to oppression that have been taken up through the anti-discrimination principle have failed to sufficiently change conditions for those facing the most violent manifestations of settler colonialism, heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, and xenophobia. These interventions have exposed how the discrimination principle's reliance on individual harm, intentionality, and universalized categories of identity has made it ineffective at eradicating these forms of harm and violence and has obscured the actual operations of systems of meaning and control that produce maldistribution and targeted violence. This paper follows this line of thinking an additional step to focus on the racialized-gendered distribution schemes that operate at the population level through programs that declare themselves race and gender neutral but are founded in the production and maintenance of race and gender categories as vectors for distributing life chances. In the context of intensifying criminal and immigration enforcement and wealth disparity, it is essential to turn our attention to what Foucault called "state racism"--the operation of population-level programs that target some for increased security and life chances while marking others for insecurity and premature death. This paper looks at how social movements resisting intersectional state violence are formulating demands (like prison abolition and an end to immigration enforcement) that exceed the narrow confines of the discrimination principle and take administrative systems as adversaries in ways that pull the nation-state form itself into crisis.
How to Cite
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work for any purposs with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).