The figure of authority: the affective biopolitics of the mother and the dying man

Leila Dawney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper discusses the relationship between authority-production and experience through a consideration of the emergence of certain figures as authorities on particular matters as a result of extraordinary experiences that they have undergone. It argues that analysis of such figures of experiential authority can help us to identify ‘objectivities’: foundational tenets upon which their authority is based and to which it ultimately refers. With reference to Harry Patch, a veteran of the First World War and Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racially motivated attack at a bus stop, I contend that the authority carried by these figures testifies to certain socially produced objectivities which elicit an affective response, an embodied demand that they are listened to.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-47
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Political Power
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2013

Keywords

  • authority
  • experience
  • affect
  • biopolitics
  • figure

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