10 Jan 2012
Complementary Communities and Strategies of Immunization
To speak of political immunization means to thematize the forms and limits of communities. How does belonging arise and how do communities defend themselves against outside threats? Communities frequently define themselves on the basis of a common identity and the defence of property. Roberto Esposito proposes a form that is constituted by something being given up and shared with others. These two models appear in a certain sense incompatible, but they do not exclude one another: they stand instead in a relationship of complementarity. They assume different functions in the context of securing domination and political immunizations: on the one hand, they provide for as homogenous a ‘Volk’ as possible; on the other, for an exchange of the heterogeneous many whose insurrectionary virulence must be controlled and domesticated. In bio-political modernity, the integration of what is threatening goes along with an immunizing control. Unforeseen contact among the many remains dangerous, because it can mean a break with the ruling order.
Isabell Lorey is a political scientist. She is a visiting professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin and teaches political theory, cultural, gender, and postcolonial studies at the University of Vienna. Her many areas of research include feminist and political theory, focusing on biopolitics, critical whiteness studies, political immunization, constituent power and exodus in political movements, and precarization. Among her recent publications are “Figuren des Immunen: Elemente einer politischen Theorie” (Zürich: diaphanes 2011). “Gouvernementale Prekarisierung“, in “Inventionen 1: Gemeinsam. Prekär. Potentia. Kon-/Disjunktion. Ereignis. Transversalität. Queere Assemblagen“, ed. by Isabell Lorey, Roberto Nigro, Gerald Raunig (Zürich: diaphanes 2011). “Inventionen 1” is the first volume in a book series that seeks to update and repoliticize poststructuralist theory (for the English version see the current issue of transversal: “Inventions”.