Abstract

Abstract:

This essay critiques a recently developed concept that sanctions violence against "irregular" migrants—namely, that the nation-state has a finite and objective "receptive capacity" for taking foreigners in. I first examine its origins in environmentalist conceptions of a territory's "carrying capacity"—a term that developed as a means of managing game populations and was subsequently transformed to appraise emerging markets. Second, I work through a linguistic recurrence, noting how Freud's theory of psychic injury postulates an infinite "receptive capacity" [Aufnahmefähigkeit], which must be regulated in order to ensure survival. Freud's speculations in Beyond the Pleasure Principle potentially dissolve a mythopoetic conception of Life that has since become central to the anti-immigrant racial imaginary—one that does not disavow death but strategically incorporates it and codes as annihilation the failure to organize one's own affectability profitably.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1092-311X
Print ISSN
2572-6633
Pages
pp. 869-890
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-23
Open Access
No
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