Necropolitics is defined as the relationship between sovereignty and the ultimate power over life and death. Sovereignty on the other hand is the full right and power according to a governing body to run without any form of interference whatsoever. This term is substantive and allows supreme authority to the governing body. In brief, necropolitics can be generalized as the politics of death. Although politics is a dirty game played only by the daring ones, necropolitics in some way over exaggerates the power bestowed upon the sovereign authority. Necropolitics undermines the crucial and most essential areas of life such as human rights, gender as well as sexuality. However, necropolitics cannot be fully done away with especially in this current neoliberal era punctuated with terror and insecurity.
It is practically impossible to talk of necropolitics without the name Achille Mbembe coming up. The two go hand in hand like gene and tonic. Mbembe is a philosopher, public intellectual and a political scientist at the same time. Whereas many would hardly recognize him by his professions and level of education, he is popularly known for his researches in topics including African history and social sciences; something that led him to acquire the title post colonial theorist. He was specifically against the perspective that the Western countries viewed Africa. He was not happy with the way Africa is seen by the West as a dark continent incapable of growth and development. Instead, Mbembe terms this as a social lie developed by the West for the purposes of justifying their subconscious projection of Africa based on their subjectivity. The depiction of the West does not give a true and fair picture of the real reflection of Africa as a continent. In other words, their opinions are baseless and more subjective than objective (Mbembe).
In his works on Necropolitics, it is not right to reconfigure the relations, sacrifice and terror with respect to the contemporary forms of subjugation of life and death. Life is sacred and it is given by the Almighty. This is evidenced and supported by the fact that to this very day, scientists have not been able to create life. A lot of efforts have been made in this field but they have mostly been futile. Well, some come pretty close to imitating life but no one has been able to completely crack it. This should tell you the sole giver of life is the Supreme. For this reason therefore, no one should have the authority to take life regardless of the position held or authority bestowed upon them (Thobani).
According to Mbembe, sovereignty and necropolitics is one and the same thing. Giving sovereign power to a governing body facilitates them to exercise power over life and death. This is because people in such positions expect their will to be done without any form of opposition whatsoever. In the case of opposition, such people tend to suppress it using force and even death when need be. In the modern day world, we find that in the process of exercising power too much force is applied to resistance to the extent that the boundary of human rights is crossed. In some way, necropolitics tends to wed reason and violence. The two are distinctly different situations; water and oil and can never cook in the same pot. In necropolitics, violence has become extended and is slowly becoming the only way rule is being exercised on humans. The presence of military and warfare is leading to silent forms of human domination by the authority.
The most obvious way in which necropolitics crosses the human rights is the freedom of speech and expression. No one would dare oppose a public figure openly despite whether his intentions are pure and true. The fear of people in power is evidenced in many situations; one would rather stay silent and stomach whatever is his/her mind than be on the other side of power. Especially where there are no clear boundaries who and what extents are the practical conditions when the right to kill can be exercised and the specific subjects of this right, this can be a tricky situation. This is the reason why nine times out of ten you will find that commoners strive to please those in power even when deep down they would be the first people to shoot given a chance; no pun intended.
Necropolitics should not be encouraged since the ultimate expression of authority should be based on the equality of men and women and gauged by the observation of general norms as opposed to positing people as subjects of sovereignty (Hong).
Hong, Grace and Roderick Ferguson. ""Introduction, Strange Affinities: the gender and sexual politics of comparative racialiation"." Durham (2011).
Mbembe, Achille. "Necropolitics." Public Culture (2003): 11-40.
Thobani, Sunera. Queer Necropolitics. New York: Routledge, 2015.
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