Observing the Death of Others: Spectacle, Compassion and Political Responsibility
Speaker: Dimitra Makrynioti, Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Early Childhood Education, School of Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
A discussion concerning trauma, suffering and death is essentially a discussion about the body which – whether dead or alive, unharmed or injured, present or missing – comes to articulate what is conveniently conveyed as personal drama with the social, political and economic conditions through which it is identified, attributed or deprived of meanings, offered opportunities or excluded from them.
In this context some of the following questions arise: How are unequal conditions of exposure to death expressed socially? In what terms do we recognize and respond to the vulnerability, pain and violence involved? Is compassion capable of offsetting political responsibility? Do we, nowadays, become witnesses of a form of ‘necropolitics’ (i.e. a relationship between sovereignty and power over life and death) which abandon some lives to death without this loss of life constituting murder? And lastly, can we escape from the logic of victimization and give reason to those who transform suffering into demand-contention?
This event is related to The Pain of Others exhibition.