State Power and its Repositories
Rohini Rangachari
WHO SINGS THE NATION STATE? by Judith Butler & Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Seagull Books, 2007, 121 pp., price not stated
December 2007, volume 31, No 12

If the state is what ‘binds’, it is also clearly what can and does unbind. And if the state binds in the name of the nation, conjuring a certain version of the nation forcibly, if not powerfully, then it also unbinds, releases, expels, banishes . . . it expels precisely through an exercise of power that depends upon barriers and prisons and, so, in the mode of a certain containment. . . What does it mean to be at once contained and dispossessed by the state? And what does it mean to be uncontained or discontinued from the state but given over to other forms of power that may or may not have state-like features? These questions are just a few of the myriad issues raised by an engaging conversation between two of America’s foremost critics and two of the most influential

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