Contemporary governmentality combines biopolitical and necropolitical logics to establish social, political and physical borders that classify and stratify populations using symbolic and material marks as, for example, nationality, gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, social class and/or disability. The social sciences have been prolific in the analysis of alterities and, in turn, implicated in the epistemologies and knowledge practices that underpin and sustain the multiplication of frontiers that define essential differences between populations. The purpose of this paper is to develop a strategy that analyze and subvert the logic of bordering inherent in the bio/necropolitical gaze. In different ways, this paper examines operations of delimitation and differentiation that contribute to monolithic definitions of subject and subjectivity.
The authors question border construction processes in terms of their static, homogenizing and exclusionary effects.
Instead of hierarchical stratification of populations, the papers in this special issue explore the possibilities of relationship and the conditions of such relationships. Who do we relate to? On which terms and conditions? With what purpose? In which ethical and political manner?
A critical understanding of the asymmetry in research practices makes visible how the researcher is legitimized to produce a representation of those researched, an interpretation of their words and actions without feedback or contribution to the specific context where the research has been carried out. Deconstructive and relational perspectives are put forward as critical strands that can set the basis of different approaches to research and social practice.
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