Volume 24, Issue 2, 2021
Who We Are Is How We Are
Black Lives Matter at Disciplinary Society’s Breaking Point
In this article, I explore the contrast between the recent George Floyd protests and the lockdowns immediately prior by situating these rebellions in the context of Foucault’s disciplinary society and subsequent scholarship on biopolitical management. I assert that the disciplinary mechanisms operative in finance/debt, policing and epidemiological management of the virus share similar epistemological assumptions stemming from liberal individualism. The revolutionary character of these uprisings therefore stems from their epistemological subversions of the predictable individual, and this figure’s spatiotemporal situatedness, a construction that helps power make claims on our collective future. The protests push us to see beyond a strict Foucauldian reading of this moment to uncover the metastatic status of identities in rebellion, which sustain resistance to disciplinary society’s epistemological foundations.