2nd SAGE-CRG Lecture on Technology, Body, and Law by Itty Abraham of NUS [April 25, Kolkata]

SAGE and Calcutta Research Group in association with Department of Sociology, Presidency University, Kolkata are pleased to announce the 2nd SAGE-CRG Lecture on Technology, Body, and Law: The Antinomies of Rights and Governmentality by Dr Itty Abraham (National University of Singapore).

Date: Friday April 25, 2014 [3 PM]

Venue: A.J.C Bose Auditorium, Presidency University | 86/1, College Street, Kolkata – 700 073


Vasudha Rastogi | SAGE Publications | email: vasudha.rastogi@sagepub.in | Tel: 011 4063 9239
Shuvro Prosun Sarker | Calcutta Research Group | email: shuvro@mcrg.ac.in I Tel: 98742 23526
Samaresh Guchhait | Calcutta Research Group | email: samaresh@mcrg.ac.in | Tel: 99032 98485

Dr Itty Abraham :

Dr. Itty Abraham, Associate Professor, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.

His research interests include intersection of nationalism and technology in Asia; the Indian Ocean as a zone of interaction and exchange; SE Asia, India, and China interactions; foreign policy as a spatial practice; non-territorial forms of citizenship.

Among his various important publications, counts the book The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb: Science, Secrecy, and the Postcolonial State (Postcolonial Encounters Series) London: Zed Books (Indian edition by Orient Longman, Delhi, 1999. Technology, Body, and Law: The Antinomies of Rights and Governmentality.

About the paper

This paper argues that the deepening alliance between the law and science and technology (S&T) reinforces the weakness of the constitutionally endorsed idea of the individual subject as a rights-bearing citizen.

Two modes of governmentalized power in particular are addressed. The first explores the individual as a site of judicial truth as produced by sovereign power; the second addresses the individual as a product of biopolitical intervention.

The first mode of governmentality draws its history from colonial law, now represented by the scientific probe – from DNA and brain scans to so-called truth serums – that extracts probative evidence directly from the body, rendering mute the ostensible subject of judicial enquiry.

The second is the extensive array of postcolonial biopolitical techniques, from the census to the Aadhar card, a biometric technology, that are concerned less with the individual than the society that comes into view through these techniques.

These intersections of law, body, and, technology produce respectively a social body composed of abstracted organs and body parts that have come to have an independent juridical existence (what Foucault called an apparatus), and society imagined as a database, the final apotheosis of the idea of population.

Rights only emerge when they are the explicit product of struggle rather than imagined as inalienable entitlements promised by constitutional protections.

Full information is HERE.

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