Politics of the human Naming Dehumanization Grievability Hierarchies of death
Cambridge University Press
LLOYD, M.S., 2016. Naming the dead and the politics of the "human". Review of International Studies, In Press.
The summer of 2014 saw several campaigns to name the dead of Gaza. This paper aims to explore these initiatives through the idea of the ‘human’; understood both in terms of grievability, as a life that matters, and as a ‘litigious name’ employed by subaltern groups to make political demands. My argument in this paper is that politically not all attempts at nomination are equivalent and that a distinction needs to be drawn between those carried out on behalf of the ‘ungrievable’ and those engaged in by them. Only the latter enables a critical politics of the human potentially capable of transforming the prevailing order of grievability in order to make their lives count. After exploring the interventions that occurred in Gaza in 2014, I turn to how the Western (and Israeli) media represent international deaths to consider what that reveals about the differential valuation of human life. To help make my case I elaborate the idea of an order of grievability. I then explore various attempts by others to name Gaza's dead, and the limitations of their ensuing politics, before finally examining the activities of Humanize Palestine as an example of a more radical, critical politics of the human.
This paper is closed access until it is published.
A Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship funded the research project from which this paper arises.