SPECIAL ISSUE: STATES OF VIOLENCE
Humanity Through Work
University of California Riverside
Joseph Pugliese argues that the ontological rupture between ‘animal’ and ‘human’ enables a continuum of state violence that is constitutive of the state itself. Building on Pugliese’s analyses, this essay will explore how the equation of indigeneity with animality and nature is effected through the equation of humanity with work. As such, indigenous peoples can attain humanity only through work. In this essay, I explore how within the settler colonial context, the radical rupture is not between human and animal, but human and the rest of creation. The indigenous intervention into this rupture is about not simply rethinking this rupture behind animal vs human but about reconstituting the radical relationality among all forms of creation. In addition, I explore how this radical rupture between ‘nature’ and ‘human’ is effected through the equation of humanity through work, which thus serves to render peoples who are considered inherent non-workers to be as non-human. That is, to ‘work’, is to be able to exercise power over the affectable others who do not work. The actual labor then of affectable others has to disappear or be subsumed under work done by the self-determining subjects who exercise power over them.
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© borderlands ejournal 2014