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The Salon

Radical Withdrawal: Necropolitics, Capitalismo Gore, and other Kinds of Life [1]

André Catalão, Falling Lights (2012). Acrylic on canvas, 30x20cm. Courtesy the artist.
André Catalão, Falling Lights (2012). Acrylic on canvas, 30x20cm. Courtesy the artist.
Marko Stamenkovic

(University of Ghent, Belgium)

Marko Stamenkovic considers "economic suicide" as an indicator of the necropolitics that is the consequence of neo-liberal capitalism. Theorising crises of subjectivity attending the ongoing European recession, he argues that there are opportunities for forging the Self against hegemonic structures of power and governance.


What is the political rationality and, accordingly, specific historical constellation of powers upon which contemporary theoretical debates about life and death are currently taking shape? Similarly, one could also ask how and why such debates differ from related theoretical concerns developed throughout the last four decades, most notably since Michel Foucault's ‘invention' of biopolitics at the Collège de France in 1970s Paris.

This is only one among many possible questions that I would like to pose at the very outset of this paper. It explicitly tackles the configuration of relationships pertaining to the concepts of life, death, and politics. If the exercise of sovereign power depends precisely upon the technical apparatus administering a populations' life and death, what interests me the most within such a configuration is the status of suicide: not only what is generally conceived by this term from a normative medico-juridical and scientific Western perspective (defined by the World Health Organization as "the act of deliberately killing oneself. Risk factors for suicide include mental disorder (such as depression, personality disorder, alcohol dependence, or schizophrenia), and some physical illnesses, such as neurological disorders, cancer, and HIV infection. There are effective strategies and interventions for the prevention of suicide") but any possible alternatives to it focused specifically upon the recently coined phenomenon of ‘suicides by economic crisis.' Therefore, my preliminary question can also be re-phrased in the following way: what does a specific political rationality signify today in the context of theoretical debates around life and death since the turn of the new millennium? Here I want to point out the particular meaning of contemporary political rationality, understood as the matrix of ongoing colonial power, the function of which extends beyond the contemporary political economy, including the current Eurozone crisis. I want to address this matrix of power as a necrocapitalist engine of systematic destruction behind which so-called economic suicides occur today.

So-Called Life

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century the world has been profoundly influenced by manifold expressions of the so-called global crisis. Its most deviant turn became evident under conditions of dramatic change taking place in the aftermath of the events of 11th of September in the United States of America, opening the doors for what has become an unprecedented yet defining form of contemporary global regime in the first decade of the 2000s: the so-called ‘war on terror.' The so-called 9/11 decade was also marked by the so-called global financial crisis. This turned out to be a phenomenon that has not only determined our everyday life but made a fundamental impact upon the overall organization of contemporary life worldwide. The life itself has changed in general by taking a novel form: it has more prominently turned into an aspect of global citizenship mutating in relation to neoliberalism (as repeatedly pointed out by Aihwa Ong in her book Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty).[2]

In the European Union in particular this became significant- since the summer of 2008. The consequences of the crisis have become all the more prominent, both in everyday lives of the European citizens and in the official political agendas of their local and international institutional representatives. The current rise of unemployment, impoverishment, and general dispossession have taken an unprecedented turn. The regime of austerity, instituted in accordance with the requirements imposed by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, have been intensified throughout the last few years across the continent. The measures proposed from the highest level of political and financial power were enforced in order to reduce spending while increasing taxes: they have left a common European citizen to face the austerity regime directly yet without much space for existential maneuvers. This has become all the more evident in the EU countries drastically hit by their national debts and financial downfall, namely in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Ireland, among others.

Gradually, our experience of being-in-the-world has come to be officially and popularly recognized as a way of living under the sort of crisis that is supposedly and exclusively characterized by its financial nature. However, if we want to understand the ‘global economic crisis' as only one among many consequences of the dominant logic of neoliberal capitalism, then we also need to take into consideration another important point. Alongside the mutation of citizenship in relation to neoliberalism, humankind has also come to confront the limits of a political and economic system whose exercise of power over its subjects has reached a radical turning point. It is radical precisely in the sense of stretching beyond the mere administration of life - or indeed, in recalling Foucauldian dictum on biopower, "that domain of life over which power has taken control" (Mbembe 12). In other words, we are facing a situation that demands to be perceived from an alternative perspective to those already cemented biopolitical viewpoints centered on overall life-management. And this perspective, or counter-perspective, allows us to see yet another determining aspect of neoliberal imperial authority: its relation to death and, besides, our own exposure to death under sovereign decision-making and control, all in the context of what has recently been recognized and analyzed by Subhabrata Banerjee as living under the regime of necrocapitalist world governance par excellence.

It is precisely at the intersection of these elements that suicide and suicide-related phenomena start occupying a dominant and often spectacular position in media, politics, and theory. Simultaneously, they exert an urgent need to profile our discussions regarding the effects of economic rationality precisely as political rationality over citizens' lives in the times of this multidimensional crisis. Our task is to take a look at those dimensions of crisis (including current waves of suicidal death popularly named ‘economic suicides') from a radically different yet critical perspective. My argument is that such a perspective must aim towards disclosing a certain kind of rationality, different from the one pertaining to medico-scientific and health-care industries. The key to understanding the aberrant conditions under which suicidal death has taken such a prominent place in various agendas (in media, hospitals, preventive centers, and even parliaments) must lie elsewhere than the already pronounced regulatory institutional entities sanctioned to control humankind via life-oriented technologies of power. We must look for epistemologies other than the dominant ones, imposed by sacrosanct biopower regimes typical of the global North. We must aim towards "doubly transgressive sociologies [and] rival knowledges" (De Sousa Santos 47). While maintaining "two good reasons to keep a distance from Eurocentric critical theory: the loss of critical nouns and the phantasmal relationship between theory and action" (De Sousa Santos 47), we must embrace our own epistemology - the epistemology of the South - for the sake of understanding the current political rationality that is stretching beyond the so-called economic crisis. This includes the historical and technological specificity and socio-ethical architecture upon which the current necropolitical power (under its biopolitical guise) institutes the so-called universal truth about citizenship under crisis. It is this power and its related dominant epistemology that must be put into question before we take any particular medico-juridical expertise for granted. This can lead us towards conclusions about why and how any ‘mental health crisis' is caught up in the trap of the ‘economic crisis'.

This is important for at least two reasons. First, because biopower is authorized to regulate and control a populations' behavior in what is left as a domain of life exposed, among other threats, to a suicidal death. Second, because its epistemology is rooted in hegemonic institutional discourses engineered and voiced by scientific, clinical/medical experts in alliance with other politically relevant actors (national governments, supranational organizations, financial institutions, etc.) that have literally monopolized and colonized the discursive domain of life and life-related issues. They have done so in an attempt to ‘prevent' populations from what can obviously not be prevented as it is going beyond the limits of biopolitical reason. And what escapes biopolitical reason is exactly the political crisis of neoliberal model of governing hidden behind the mask of the ‘global economic crisis' in an urge for austerity measures. In other words, I want to argue that contemporary forms of self-sacrifice are inseparable from other forms characteristic of necrocapitalism. Their mutual dependence exists at the level of radical self-exposure, i.e. exposing one's own body in resistance to the biopolitical power through self-accomplished death. This constitutes some of the logic of necropolitics - the politics of the First World's neoliberal regime par excellence (Grzinic, Biopolitics and Necropolitics in relation to the Lacanian four discourses). In a rather drastic way, when analyzing Santiago López Petit's essay "Claiming Free Hatred For a Global Era" (published in 2008 in Spanish as Reivindicación del odio libre para una época global), Marina Grzinic concludes about the lethal tension of life between the governing and the governed, produced by such a regime:

Today life itself is the field of battle! Therefore, a proposal put forward to dismantle the total subsumption of reality by capitalism is a proposal to make of our life an act of sabotage. Inwhat way? His [i.e. Santiago López Petit's] proposal is for hatred. Petit states that those that hate their lives deeply can come to the point of changing it (Subjectivization, Biopolitics and Necropolitics: Where Do We Stand?)

Necrocapitalism - or slasher capitalism (capitalismo gore), as suggested by Sayak Valencia Triana in relation to the contemporary situation in Mexico - is a neologism that was first proposed by Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee in the context of theories and practices pertaining to the most recent period of neoliberal globalization. The term itself derives from two words, necro (the Greek prefix applied to death) and capitalism (the English term for a particular economic system). Hence it denotes a connection between two basic elements: the neoliberal capitalist doctrine and death. The concept of necrocapitalism thus implies an intertwining relationship between two systems of production in which global financial growth and economic accumulation of goods develop not only in parallel but through the global growth of dying and increasing worldwide production of death. Hence contemporary capitalist practices are inseparable from practices of death and dying. As necrocapitalist practices, they pertain "to different forms of power - institutional, material, and discursive - operating in the political economy [and] implying dispossession, marginalization, violence, and death" (Banerjee 1541). The number of suicidal victims of economic atrocities therefore increases with neoliberal politico-medical ‘preventive crisis-management'. Moreover, the global populations' everyday life is the very characteristic of such management. This is one possible way to critically consider the lives of citizens who have already been killed but have yet to die - by their own hand, as it unfortunately becomes all the more apparent throughout contemporary Europe.

This is where we are obliged - theoretically, politically and ethically - to take a critical view on suicide and related phenomena: the view distanced from dominant clinical and medical impositions of truth surrounded by obsessive health-care concerns. Instead of approaching self-accomplished deaths as resulting exclusively from mental deviations proper to health-related disorders, misbalances and illnesses, we must look at the other side of the spectrum. We must attempt to pose different questions that search for the very origins of those ‘deviating, misbalanced and ill' practices. We must look for other reasons and rationalities behind which the indirect submission to death occurs to those whose lives are governed by necrocapitalist regimes of life-organization and health-management. We must understand suicide as an instrument of necropower and the property of necropolitics, precisely in the sense that self-destructive practices take part among other "contemporary forms of organizational accumulation that involve dispossession and the subjugation of life to the power of death" (Banerjee 1541). This is what the concept of necrocapitalism implies in terms of one of its founding theoreticians.

Instead of approaching self-accomplished deaths as resulting exclusively from mental deviations proper to health-related disorders, misbalances and illnesses, we must look at the other side of the spectrum. We must attempt to pose different questions that search for the very origins of those ‘deviating, misbalanced and ill' practices.

The So-Called Economic Crisis

The central point of this paper is the contemporary crisis of subjectivity as experienced through an increasing wave of self-accomplished deaths across Europe under conditions of the so-called economic crisis and related austerity regime. I would like to re-consider the supposed link between, on the one hand, suicides and suicide-related issues taking place in the European Union since 2008 and what is generally understood as the ongoing Eurozone economic crisis particularly aberrant across its Southern parts. The need to reconsider this relationship is of theoretical nature. Theoretically it is precisely in the way that, rather than being motivated by pragmatic or instrumental reason, in Enrique Dussel's critical terms, I consider my task reside in posing questions about the connection between suicide and political rationality behind it differently from expected canonic and normative views. This not only applies to the context of so-called mental health crisis in Europe (as pronounced by medical experts at a recent high-profiled meeting in Brussels backed up by the World Health Organization).[3] It also does not apply to the so-called economic crisis, behind which hides the actual crisis of authority of the global neoliberal capitalist regime. Instead, and even more importantly, this task applies to the context of another, epistemic crisis (or the crisis of knowledge, its production and re-production) which is inseparable from the neoliberal project as we are experiencing it today. It is the crisis of the logic of modernity as instituted by the colonial matrix of power. Since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, this matrix has been operative in engineering and designing the political, epistemological, and ethical universe sanctioned by monolithic, rationalist, ‘civilizing,' ‘progressive,' violent and violently exploitative universalism of Western European and North American narcissism. It created a kind of self-sufficiency by which the undisputable central role of the global North has been cemented in two directions: making of the ‘universal history' of the world and interpreting its future, as Dussel argues.

The crisis of humankind in the face of a financial downfall is but one extreme consequence of this narcissism, this self-sufficiency and this very logic - the one that has paved the way throughout the last five centuries by means of three related processes: capitalism, colonization, and Euro-Americanocentrism (Dussel 493). It is within this matrix of power, I would argue, that the supposed link between suicide and so-called economic crisis needs to be critically reassessed and reconsidered. This has already been taken into analytical consideration by numerous experts from various fields since the beginning of the ongoing recession, predominantly voiced by medical, psychological and psychiatric professionals in normative, biopolitical and clinical discourses. However, the subjectivity-in-crisis and the severity of its effects, as experienced across contemporary Europe , must be re-articulated not only inside but also outside the normative health-care and life-care dominions of scientific knowledge. The proliferating quantitative logic, characteristic of preventive psychiatric concerns, statistical measurements and regulatory techniques, has subjected human beings (be they dead, alive, or at risk of self-harming ) to the status of calculable living resources. Nonetheless, if we want to avoid normative epidemiological approaches we need other, less normative or till now silenced theoretical viewpoints and knowledge fields (philosophy, sociology, and ethics being the most urgent among them). We need to open up the gaps of epistemic violence prohibiting the causes of actual crisis to come to light behind the smoke screens of recession and austerity demagogies, on the one hand, and behind the medico-scientific power discourses, on the other.

This re-opening is to be activated by ways of de-linking and re-politicizing the existent normative interpretations situated in the comforting zones of hegemonic universalist rationality, including those within the theoretical and applied scholarship of suicide. The aim is to reach towards other possible ways of understanding the horizons of today's political rationality from which one is pushed over the abyss by ‘pushing his/her own self' into a death world - in order to withdraw, as dramatically and tragically as suicide can be, from the margins of this life. The notion of the abyss is understood here as being inherent to the very logic of such rationality and constitutive of such modernity. What this rationality and its logic have therefore exposed is the vulnerability of the status of a spectator (the Western middle class observer) whose life, supposedly always immune, comfortable and secure, is now put into question. This is occurring today to Europeans as it used to occur to their colonial Other centuries ago: exactly by the same logic that exerts the power to decide "who should live and who must die" (Mbembe) and all in the name of "the transcendental spirit of capitalism" (Tlostanova) as preached by the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and World Bank, among others. The only difference is the fact that, unlike in the colonial past, the logic of living-and-letting-die has taken a lethal (suicidal) turn no more over the oceans but here at home, in European territory, among and against the indigenous Europeans themselves, at the beginning of the twenty-first century:

Recent economic crisis made it obvious for the Western middle class observer that he is also vulnerable and not exempt from the logic of the late and exhausted modernity, his life also becomes dispensable and his rights inverted in its deadly game which sacrifices lives in order to save the transcendental spirit of capitalism. Yet, the zombification of modernity remains intact even today, even at the point when the global crisis has clearly demonstrated the void of its epistemic, ontological and ethical dimensions projecting its own irresponsibility, cynicism, and arrogance onto the rest of the humankind making us all hostages of the deadly game of modernity (Tlostanova 57).

So-Called Economic Suicides

I propose to approach the points of intersection between actual suicidality and neoliberal matrix of power by two main criteria. Firstly, this should be done in a deliberately critical, decolonial detour around the pathologizing views pertinent to regulatory psycho-medical gaze and its contemporary biopolitical apparatus. Secondly, this detour should re-orient our broadly conceived decolonial view towards any possible alternative theoretical and empirical (necropolitical) gaze. A differing gaze is urgently needed so that it could, eventually, institute a counter-perspective to what has already been popularly termed ‘economic suicides' or ‘suicides under economic crisis'.

These are the phrases I define as radical withdrawal. A modality of radical withdrawal to be taken into account in this context applies to corporal practices of resistance. Here I refer to self-destructive forms of public protest produced within civil movements on both micro- and macro-scales. Such forms are recognized by what contemporary sociology understands as self-immolation or self-sacrifice. More precisely, in terms used byMichael Biggs, self-immolation stands for "an act of public protest, where an individual intentionally kills him or herself - without harming anyone else - on behalf of a collective cause" (Dying without Killing: Protest by Self-Immolation, 174). Self-immolation will be considered in another, separate text in the future, complementary to the subject currently being discussed. I mention it here for the sake of demarcating two self-destructive types of necrocapitalist practices: the radical withdrawal under ‘economic crisis' and suicidalprotest through self-sacrifice unrelated to ‘economic crisis.'

As regards the radical withdrawal under ‘economic crisis', I would like to add the following: in order to avoid falling into discursive gaps created by epistemological violence, so characteristic of neoliberal teleology, we must consider the properties of the very logic, political rationality and historical specificity within which reside not a single but "several more and less known models produced in the West, in the non-West and in the border zones in-between" (Tlostanova 55). All of these models are "focusing in different ways on defining the massive crisis of subjectivity, epistemology, and ethics, leading to much more devastating and far reaching consequences than the strictly economic or even social crisis" (Tlostanova 55). At least three of those models need to be taken into account, specifically in their relation to the rising and ongoing (ir)rationality of suicides as manifested throughout Europe during the last decade - the decade of neoliberal political crisis par excellence. This is valid if we are to undertake a task of suggesting possible alternative theoretical counter-visions toward the dominant readings of ‘economic suicides'.

Among such differing models, as suggested by Tlostanova, the most prominent and unavoidable will be those produced in the West (biopolitics), in the non-West (necropolitics), and in the border zones in-between (for example, the decolonial option, or decolonial (post)continental geopolitics and body politics of knowledge). The aim of this classification is not to confirm and re-confirm either Tlostanova's or anyone else's already articulated propositions. It is rather to focus our attention on the crisis of subjectivity as most prominently represented in the contemporary moment by suicidal regimes of behavior, and to address and re-address their logic by critically analyzing, what she calls, "the interrelated epistemic and ontological dimensions of the global crisis of modernity and ... the possible ways out offered within various Western and non-Western paradigms" (Tlostanova 55).

In line with her thought, the imperative is to shift our geography of reasoning from hegemonic (universalist, normative, ‘modern', regulatory, hygienic, calculable, statistic, instrumental, asymmetrical) rationality of Western psycho-clinical gaze towards trans-modern views (Dussel) and decolonial views (Mignolo) and thus a different civilizational paradigm (Tlostanova). If the unexplored horizons and avenues of thought and actions are now to be theoretically ‘colonized' by epistemic subjects outside the Western logic of the gaze, such a radical shift shall open the gates of hope that there are indeed "other kinds of life" (as Tlostanova argues). Instead of opting for ‘final exit' solutions in one's own self-accomplished death, these gates of hope shall serve as a guide towards other possible kinds of life through other possible horizons of knowledge and other possible epistemologies - precisely the epistemologies of the South, the ‘South' as a place to look and to envision other kinds of life.

The suicides (those who, once again, "deliberately kill themselves" according to the WHO definition) are neither those who deliberately erase themselves in the final acts of falling over the abyss of neoliberal modernity, nor those who are pronounced victims of the current ‘economic crisis'. They are precisely those who fall out of the ongoing logic of modernity and its colonial matrix of power by becoming misfit epistemic subjects and, therefore, no more desirable living resources. In the patriarchal and hierarchical system of neoliberal government their lives become objectified and zombified, turned into the living dead, by the instrumental reason of exploitation-extraction-exclusion (as Banerjee defined this necrocapitalist triad). This is all in order to eliminate, erase, and push over the global abyss into the death worlds those who are no more useful, no more worth living, and no more human - according to the necrocapitalist logic.

The Politics of Death Itself

I intentionally use the term "global abyss" as suggested by Eric Cazdyn for this exploitative crisis in his book The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture and Illness. Additionally, rather than talking about ‘life', I deliberately employ the phrase "living resources" following Aihwa Ong's dictum by which "it is important to trace neoliberal technology to a biopolitical mode of governing that centers on the capacity and potential of individuals and the population as living resources that may be harnessed and managed by governing regimes" (Ong 6). Along the same line of reasoning, I understand the position of those caught in the trap of the to-live-or-not-to-live puzzle as being squeezed between what she proposes as two kinds of neoliberal optimizing technologies - technologies of subjectivity and technologies of subjection. This is the situation that she considers in terms of "implications for our understanding on how citizenship and sovereignty are mutating in articulation and disarticulation with neoliberal reason and mechanisms" (Ong 6). In her view, "as an intervention of optimization, neoliberalism interacts with regimes of ruling and regimes of citizenship to produce conditions that change administrative strategies and citizenship practices," more precisely:

Neoliberalism as used here applies to two kinds of optimizing technologies. Technologies of subjectivity rely on an array of knowledge and expert systems to induce self-animation and self-government so that citizens can optimize choices, efficiency and competitiveness in turbulent market conditions. Such techniques of optimization include the adherence to health regimes, acquisition of skills, development of entrepreneurial ventures, and other techniques of self-engineering and capital accumulation. Technologies of subjection inform political strategies that differently regulate populations for optimal productivity, increasingly through spatial practices that engage market forces. Such regulations include the fortressization of urban space, the control of travel, and the recruitment of certain kinds of actors to growth hubs (Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty 6).

In the context of dramatically changing administrative strategies under the current austerity regime operating in the EU, even more dramatic reactions are being practiced by its respective citizenship in the zones most vulnerable to such strategies (the South of Europe). My argument is, moreover, that Ong's account of two technologies clearly frames the predicament of citizens' entrapment in-between subjectivity and subjection, so characteristic of those considering a fatal escape through ‘self-engineered' death that it cannot be omitted from any critical account of the biopolitical rationality behind contemporary suicidality. Since they no longer serve the demagogy of capitalist self-interest and their lives are no more living resources of capitalist accumulation, their death - underlined by the slow process of marginalization, deprivation, and extermination - needs to appear as ‘self-annihilating'. Hence, cynically, they are either no more human or no more worth living. Or, as defined by João Biehl in Vita. Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment, they are simply "worth nothing": they - the unemployed, they - the homeless, they - the immigrants, they - the poor, they - the sick and the deceased, they - the disabled, either mentally or physically, they - the damned and condemned, they - the abandonados (the abandoned), they - the living dead.

My argument is... that Ong's account of two technologies clearly frames the predicament of citizens' entrapment in- between subjectivity and subjection, so characteristic of those considering a fatal escape through ‘self-engineered' death that it cannot be omitted from any critical account of the biopolitical rationality behind contemporary suicidality.

This situation, in which the described categories of supposedly useless living resources find their raison-de-ne-pas-être, corresponds to what is perhaps best described by Cazdyn. He argues that "as in contemporary medicine, which uses targeted drug therapies and biotechnology to manage rather than cure diseases, global capitalism does not aim for resolution but rather a continual state of crisis management that perpetrates the iniquities of the status quo. [...] In such exploitative crisis state, which he terms "the global abyss," Cazdyn posits the concept of "the already dead," a condition in which the subject (medical, political, psychological) has been killed but has yet to die" (The Already Dead, book cover).

Since "contemporary regimes of living are increasingly brought into interaction with neoliberal logic" (Ong 23) we need to re-position ourselves towards questioning the notion of life. We need to do so nowadays precisely by understanding life as an aspect of citizenship mutating in relation to neoliberalism under conditions of dramatic changes, whereas the increasing desire for change through suicidal potentiality corresponds to this mutation itself. The darker side of this mutation is manifested, among other symptoms, in the suicidal technologies of resistance. This mutation will not cease to disclose its darker side until we take a different view of what has been officially proposed as global economic crisis. Or until we recognize it by its most proper name and by what it really stands for: the political crisis of neoliberal logic as necropolitical colonial matrix of power at the beginning of the twenty-first century.


In this paper I, discussed the status of suicide within contemporary theoretical debates about life and death in the context of the so-called Eurozone economic crisis, ongoing since 2008. The subject emerged from the need to scrutinize the specific political rationality and historical conditions under which the increasing practice of suicide or self-sacrificial death occurs in today's European Union. I focus on this practice as it occurs among those EU citizens squeezed between two technologies (of subjectivity and subjection, in Aihwa Ong's terms) and mutating negatively towards self-accomplished elimination induced and orchestrated by the necropolitical logic of neoliberalism. I have thus undertaken to question the link between the governmentality of the current state of crisis and suicidality of the governed. The paper's emphasis resides in the dominant necropoliticial matrix of power (enforced by the historical roots pertaining to capitalism, colonialism and Euro/North American centrism, in Tlostanova, Mignolo, and Dussel's terms) that currently extends beyond the contemporary political economy and so-called global financial downfall (including the current Eurozone crisis). Instead, while outlining readings of histories alternative to any singular, monolithic, and universal viewpoint, the current wave of ‘economic suicides' is here no more perceived as an outcome of recession and consequent despair among those suffering the most. It is rather understood as the characteristic of all ‘living dead' to radically withdraw from this life managed by a neoliberal death-world (according to Cazdyn), supposedly without any foreseeable alternative.

What I have proposed is a more optimistic perspective, stretching beyond the constraints imposed by an ill and ‘irreplaceable' system of values administering populations' lives and deaths, while opting for our imagining other forms of living - resistant to the abyss of suicidal ‘final exit.' Refocusing attention from the economic toward the crisis of subjectivity institutes a critical distance from the irreplaceability of normative systems of knowledge and governance. It also examines hidden epistemic gaps at the center of global power relationships, cemented for over five centuries by historical, epistemological and ethical violence toward the ‘uncivilized' Other. I have approached the contemporary crisis of European subjectivity as a result of historically engineered misconceptions leading to the political crisis of the first degree (as we experience it today). I have also opted for less normative approaches around the Eurozone crisis to be examined and applied in the future studies of neoliberal necrocapitalism (in Mbembe and Banerjee's words), with particular attention to its suicidal counter effects.


[1] This paper was first presented on the occasion of the International Postgraduate Symposium Writing Life organized by the University of Malta, Faculty of Arts, Department of English (St. Julian's, Palm Suite - Intercontinental Hotel, 22-23 March 2013) in the framework of the public session "Writing Life Reflectively." See: ‘Writing Life' Symposium 2013, University of Malta online, (accessed on June 2, 2013). The paper relates to my academic research started in 2011 at the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, University of Ghent (Belgium), supervised by Prof. Dr. Tom Claes, Director of CEVI - Center for Ethics and Value Inquiry. The research makes part of my PhD project Suicide Cultures. Theories and Practices or Radical Withdrawal - A Transnational Cultural and Media Paradigm (2001-2011), supported by Basileus Scholarship - an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 project for academic exchange between EU and Western Balkans funded by the European Commission.

[2] See Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty. Durham, NC, 2006, pp. 1-27.

[3] See Mental Health in Times of Economic Crisis. The European Parliament. 19 June 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.


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