Exploring the emergence of the subject in power: infant geographies

2013-09-05T08:29:18Z (GMT) by Louise Holt
Following Butler’s argument that understanding the operations of power requires an examination of the contexts of ‘infants’ emergence’, this paper explores the potential for infant geographies. Butler points to the importance of infancy to subjection, the formation of psyches, and the ‘fiction’ of an interior or socially anterior self. Attention to infants’ everyday geographies therefore has the potential to unravel how individuals are subjected; how power becomes an embodied part of individuals’ subjective identities, operating creatively to produce subjects with agency, and, at the same time, limiting and circumscribing appropriate subjectivities. A critical reflection on Butler suggests a need to focus upon how subjection occurs in specific material spaces, and the role of a host of human and nonhuman others to the process of subjection. Also pertinent is a fuller exploration of how diversities of kinship and nonkinship social relations might lead to other constellations of power in the subjection of infants. How the geographies of infants can be operationalised methodologically and epistemologically is also explored. The paper has broader resonance to issues of subjection; to how embodied inequalities are reproduced, transformed, or both; to questions of agency; and to concerns to deconstruct an autonomous, thinking, rational, human subject within human geography—reconfiguring individuals as constituted within emotional and psychic interdependency.