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Accepted Paper:

Performances of fearlessness: racialized violence, radical defiance and the affordability of resistance  

Author:

Deniz Yonucu (TU Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on a case study from the urban margins of Istanbul, the paper examines the hypervisibility of police surveillance, necropolitical violence against racialized young men, and the various public performances that provide support for racialized working-class youths who refuse to be debilitated.

Paper long abstract:

The paper I would like to present draws on a case study from the urban margins of Istanbul and examines the hypervisibility of police surveillance and necropolitical violence against racialized young men and the various public performances that provide support for racialized subjects who refuse to be debilitated. More specifically, focusing on racialized working-class youths response to militarised spatial control and undercover police surveillance in their neighborhoods, I illustrate that the state violence and panoptic gaze of the undercover police can be experienced as an assault on subjects’ agency and free will, thereby triggering a desire to reject and defy the psychic power of the police over the self and hence reclaim the status of dignified subjects. The omnipresent gaze of the undercover police produces a desire among racialized young men to express their rage and be visible on the streets as a presence that threatens the police with potential violence and to become an embodiment of fearlessness.

While performances of fearlessness help young racialized men to affirm their sense of agency, they also put them in a more vulnerable position vis-a-vis the police. The presentation then concludes with a discussion on the affordability of resistance and asks who can afford acts of resistance in a context where necropolitical violence prevails.

Panel Body03b
Disruptive bodies: transgressive encounters in law, art and performance II