The Politics of Life and Death: A One Day Workshop

October 22nd, 2017

Call for Abstracts

The Politics of Life and Death: A One Day Workshop

December 13th

The University of Manchester

Deadline for Abstracts: 31st October

In recent years, a number of concepts have been developed in International Politics and beyond to think through the relationship between various forms of power (sovereignty, capital, and so on) and life: disposability, abandonment and expulsion to name only a few. The concepts of biopolitics and necropolitics in particular have become fundamental for understanding the contemporary political management of bodies and populations in a variety of contexts, from Guantanamo Bay to refugee camps, from (post)colonial contexts to areas of resource extraction.

This event makes a space to reflect on this proliferation of concepts by staging a fundamental encounter between the politics of life and death. Its aim is to explore new interactions between sovereignty and modern technologies of power for the management of life and death that work through terror, ecological destruction and social disposability. It also hopes to interrogate new possibilities of governance that question the hegemonic relationship between subjectivity, power and death, patriarchal, imperial-colonial reasoning and violence so as to collectively consider new ways of living.

We welcome all abstracts broadly relating to the theme. Topics may include but at not limited to:

  • The politics of migration
  • Logics of disposability, expulsion and abandonment
  • Investigations of new terrains of biopolitical governance or struggle
  • Political struggles against necropolitical apparatuses and logics of disposability
  • Theoretical interrogations of the turn to life and death in International Politics
  • New expositions of theorists central to discussions of life and death in International Politics.

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and should be sent to: and for consideration.

Thank you,

Sabrina Villenave and Kai Heron, University of Manchester

Infrastructure Security

June 23rd, 2015

I have a new post on E-IR on what infrastructure security discourses can tell us about the vulnerabilities of contemporary, urbanised, logistical ways of life. Understanding the metaphors that guide our thinking about infrastructure thus enables us to see both the way in which our our conceptual grammars affect the way we see the world as well as understanding precisely why certain vulnerabilities are prioritised above others. Read the post here.

Memorialising the Invisible

May 1st, 2015



I have a new post on E-IR reflecting on my recent trip to Ieper/Ypres for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first use of poison Gas in WWI. The post – Memorialising the Invisible – discusses the problems of militarising or securitising such commemorations.

Read Memorialising the Invisible here.

Charlie Hebdo and the Politics Of Response Forum

March 25th, 2015

Image: Alexis Demachy

Belatedly, here is a link to a Forum on the Charlie Hebdo attacks that I participated in at Durham in February and which has now been published online by the Society and Space blog.
Continue reading Charlie Hebdo and the Politics Of Response Forum»

Durham Geography Charlie Hebdo Event

February 10th, 2015

Today I spoke at a Durham Geography workshop on Charlie Hebdo organised by Angharad Closs Stephens

Here’s a summary of what I said:

1. The January attacks on Paris are representative of a form of violence that is urbanised. A form of urban insurgency that is increasingly common in cities around the world – Mumbai, Madrid, London, Boston, Nairobi. It exploits urban technologies/infrastructures – cars, rails, roads – and urban morphology – enclosed spaces, crowded spaces – for maximum effect. It is not new, but it’s effective. Military doctrine has warned of the complexity of urban space for a while, but this urban insurgency demonstrates a lack of effective response – partly because, as I will discuss in a minute, the proposed responses erode the core attributes of the urban environment that we value – freedom, plurality and so on. Continue reading Durham Geography Charlie Hebdo Event»