Life, Emergent: The Social in the Afterlives of Violence

A panel discussion on Life, Emergent: The Social in the Afterlives of Violence authored by Yasmeen Arif was held on 2 March 2017 at CSDS. The discussion was chaired by Awadhendra Sharan. The panelists included:

Yasmeen Arif is Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Delhi.

Prathama Banerjee is Associate Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Siddharth Narrain is Research Associate at Sarai-Centre for Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Mohammad Sayeed is Research Scholar, Sociology, Urban Studies, University of Delhi.

Awadhendra Sharan is Associate Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

How does an inquiry into life as it lives (or dies) amid mass violence look like from the perspective of the “social”? Taking us from Sierra Leone to India to Lebanon, Life, Emergent challenges conventional understandings of biopolitics, weaving a politics of life through the lens of life, not death.

Arguing that the “letting die” element of biopolitics has been overemphasized, Yasmeen Arif zeros in on biopolitics’ other pole: “making live.” She does so by highlighting the various means and the forms of life configured in the aftermath-or afterlives-of violent events in contexts of law, justice, community, and identity. Her analysis of the social repercussions is both global and local in scope. Arif examines the convictions made in the Special Court of Sierra Leone, the first hybrid court of its nature under international criminal law. Next, she explores the making of a justice movement in the context of Hindu-Muslim violence in 2002 in the state of Gujarat, India. From there she revisits the Sikh carnage in Delhi of 1984. Finally, she explores a span of civil violence in Lebanon, and particularly, its effects on the city of Beirut.

This rigorously argued book brings together the various strands of life and the social that each chapter has disentangled-and in doing so it begins to frame a politics of, and in, life.

Thursday, 2 March 2017
5 pm, CSDS Seminar Room
29 Rajpur Road, Delhi