Law undone: corporeal subversion in Mariella Mehr’s Stoneage
At a time in which the corporeality of excluded subjects is prominent in socio-political discourse, this article proposes a critical interdisciplinary reading of the way in which the juridical positioning of the corporeal is designed to obscure the threatening ruptures in the originary body of the law. The sedentarizing anti-nomadic program of ... removing children and incarcerating them as wards of the state in Switzerland between 1926 and1972 demonstrates a systematic juridical authorization of the attempt to disrupt and excise the diseased and degenerate body of the Yenish from the ordered body of the pure state. Through a close analysis of Mariella Mehr s novel Stoneage (1990 ), read through a theoretical framework informed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari s work on the Body without Organs, Giorgio Agamben s reading of Primo Levi s Muselmann, and vulnerability theory, this article aims to lay bare the ways in which law is implicated in the process of negating corporeal disorder in the context of a eugenic program conducted against the unlawful body.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 3 (2017)