- Title: Necro-Politics
- Author: Achille Mbembe
- Publisher: WITS University Press
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Publication Year: 2019
- ISBN: 9781776143276
- Bib. Info: Paperback; 232pp
“This book establishes Achille Mbembe as the leading humanistic voice in the study of sovereignty, democracy, migration, and war in the contemporary world. In the essays assembled here, Mbembe accomplishes the nearly impossible task of finding a radical path through the darkness of our times and seizes hope from the jaws of what he calls ‘the deadlocks of humanism.’ It is not a comforting book to read, but it is an impossible book to put down.” – Arjun Appadurai.
In Necropolitics, Achille Mbembe—a leader in the new wave of Francophone critical theory—theorizes the genealogy of the contemporary world—a world plagued by ever-increasing inequality, militarization, enmity, and terror, as well as by a resurgence of racist, fascist, and nationalist forces determined to exclude and kill. He outlines how democracy has begun to embrace its dark side, or what he calls its “nocturnal body,” which is based on the desires, fears, affects, relations, and violence that drove colonialism. This shift has hollowed out democracy, thereby eroding the very values, rights, and freedoms liberal democracy routinely celebrates.
As a result, war has become the sacrament of our times, in a conception of sovereignty that operates by annihilating all those considered to be enemies of the state. Despite his dire diagnosis, Mbembe draws on post-Foucault debates on biopolitics, war, and race, as well as Fanon’s notion of care as a shared vulnerability, to explore how new conceptions of the human that transcend humanism might come to pass. These new conceptions would allow us to encounter the Other not as a thing to exclude, but as a person with whom to build a more just world.