This volume explores the panic that is a central affective register of our current international order. Fears of Somali pirates, "Gypsy" kidnappers, African warlords, Ebola, "Mexican meth," pimps, coyotes, gangs, climate refugees and more, structure the dark side of a metropolitan unconscious. These are terrors over things that (might) cross borders, threatening the sanctity of territoriality and capital. Inspired by scholarship challenging panics around human and sex trafficking, the contributors to this volume develop the umbrella category of the global moral panic. Embracing the challenge of grasping a phenomenon not previously regarded as cohering, they consider panics provoked by travel, passage, transgression; panics over bodies that move. Like panics over trafficking, the episodes narrated here ride and feed a field of common sense regarding crime, rights, and state power. Their logics of victims and villains nourish notions of the centrality of punishment, drawing from and feeding taxonomies of gender, race, and nation, solidifying the order craved by capital. They spotlight the coloniality of power, the ongoing salience of empire, the savior logics of rescue, and the profound sexism organizing hierarchies of bodies and places. Panic, this volume diagnoses, is a crucial, undertheorized facet of contemporary local-global relations.
Panic, Transnational Cultural Studies, and the Affective Contours of Power
- Micol Seigel
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