Producing Ambiguous Threats: The Xenos and Xenophobia in Postcolonial France

Jouai, E. 2022. Producing Ambiguous Threats: The Xenos and Xenophobia in Postcolonial France. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Social Sciences https://doi.org/10.34737/vvqy1

TitleProducing Ambiguous Threats: The Xenos and Xenophobia in Postcolonial France
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsJouai, E.
Abstract

In a Western postcolonial society like France, some subjects are produced as threats and persecuted accordingly because they are ambiguous, that is, neither similar nor different, neither one thing nor its opposite. This research groups those subjects under the analytical term xenos (both the host and the guest in the ancient Greek hospitality) and studies three figures of the xenos in postcolonial France: the homosexual Arab man, the intersex person, and the foreigner. To understand how those ambiguous subjects are produced as threats, this research reworks the notion of xenophobia away from its traditional meaning to analyse practices of subjectification that have emerged beside the traditional binary, dominating Western differentiation (e.g., French/stranger). To that end, it resorts to a Foucaultian archaeology to analyse the regularity of discursive and non-discursive practices of subjectification – like xenophobic discourse, knowledge, and persecution – which form a xenophobic apparatus. Through archaeology, this research analyses, on the one hand, the intensification of fear entailed by xenophobia, and, on the other hand, the strategy of disambiguation articulated through the xenophobic apparatus. Indeed, after being produced as an ambiguous threat, the xenos is legitimately disambiguated into a similar or different subject through xenophobic knowledge and persecution. Because the xenos is both dominated and allegedly threatening, this research approaches this ambiguous subject through the poststructuralist affirmation of difference over identity. Yet, because the xenos emerges beside the binary opposition between identity and difference, they cannot be analysed under the poststructuralist difference, especially since the latter is a tool for subversion while the xenos’ ambiguity is here problematised in relation with xenophobia. Additionally, this research extrapolates from the historicisation of the political and epistemological problematisation of difference since Foucault’s “classical age” to demonstrate that the problematisation of ambiguity is typically postcolonial. In the end, by analysing the subjectification of the xenos in postcolonial France, this research demonstrates that differentiation and political opposition are not exclusively binary.

Year2022
File
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
PublisherUniversity of Westminster
Publication dates
Published2022
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.34737/vvqy1

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