Monthly Archives: June 2017

‘Don’t sugar me cunt!’: The drug search as a technology of sovereign humiliation and assertion

This scene, from Ana Kokkinos’s brilliant (1998) film Head On, astutely demonstrates how the drug search has emerged as a key technology for the instatement of white heteromasculinist sovereignty.  But before watching, please be warned it’s disturbingly  violent and depicts police brutality against vulnerably sexualised, gendered and racialised bodies.

“This room is so white!!!”

From the underpants inspections that NSW police used to conduct to harass cross-dressers and transgender people over the 1950s and 1960s in Sydney, to the NSW police use of sniffer dogs that continues to this day, stripping people bare –  down to the bios of bare life –  has a long history of use as a strategy of coercion, humiliation and violence,  deployed most often against queers, blacks, immigrants and women in bids to assert particular forms of sovereignty and abjection.

To me, Kokkinos’s take on the intersections of nationalism, policing, ethnicity, sexuality and gender in this scene is incredibly incisive.  It eloquently demonstrates why the police use of drug and other laws to intimate and harass people they don’t like the look of (with sniffer dogs for example) must be brought to an end now …..and why it requires an urgent counter-response from anyone concerned with the violent operations of racism, homophobia and transphobia in present day Australia

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Filed under Affect, Devices and technology, Drug dogs, Masculinities, Police, Sexual practice, Theory, Transgender

Collective experiment

As queers our bodies are known to be particularly vulnerable: to disease, shame, violence, self-doubt and ostracization.

Indeed abuse, or the experience of abuse – both social and physical – could be considered constitutive of queer subjectivity.

For such subjects, experimentation is not some idle game but can emerge as a necessity – however steeped such experiments may be in risks and danger.

Despite such risks, testing out new ways of feeling the world can come to seem necessary if one wants to survive, if we want to make worlds and lives for ourselves that feel worth living

These experiments work better, their dangers maybe mitigated, when we find ways of conducting them safely and openly. That’s why so many work so hard to build and sustain collective arenas  of care, play, disclosure, support, curiosity, adventure and scandalous pedagogy.

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