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Prognosis time: Towards a geopolitics of affect, debility and capacity

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Abstract:

This article brings into conversation theories of affect, particularly those emerging from technoscience criticism that foreground bodily capacities for affecting or being affected, for change, evolution, transformation, and movement, and studies of disability and debility which complicate these notions of capacity, even while privileging identity-based rights and representational politics that might reinscribe other forms of normativity. I argue for a deconstruction of what ability and capacity mean, affective and otherwise, and to push for a broader politics of debility that puts duress on the seamless production of abled-bodies in relation to disability. Central to my discussion will be formulations of risk, calculation, prognosis, statistical probability, and population construction, whereby identity is understood not as essence, but as risk coding. Affect is therefore a site of bodily creative discombobulation and resistance but one that is also offered up for increasing monitoring and modulation.

Keywords: affect; assemblage; biocapital; capacity; debility; disability; neoliberalism; queer

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07407700903034147

Affiliations: Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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