Europe: Gender, Class, Race (2012)

The present essay has three parts. All three parts present the critique of the spatializations of Europe in the context of global neoliberal discourse on one side and the completely intertwined discourse of postsocialist/post-Cold-War Europe on the other.

The first part conceptualizes a possibility to think socially, politically, and culturally about a space once known as Eastern Europe, which in the 1990s—after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)—transformed into the former Eastern Europe, and since 2004, has been partly integrated into the European Union (to become in the future the United States of Europe or simply to vanish!), and partly waiting at the European Union’s threshold. In this first part, gender is seen as one of the major ways of control, subjugation, and repetition of coloniality.

The second part elaborates a genealogy of contemporary performative practices and political spaces in the former Yugoslavia that dismantles the singular, established contemporary history of art and performative practices (conceptual, body, and performance) that has been imposed by the former (as they like to call themselves now) Western Europe’s historiography. In order to dismantle such a singular history, the concept of politically queer is elaborated.

The third part clearly exposes that the question of race has—and will have—a pertinent political weight in Europe. Europe must critically review its colonial and racial history and present. The contemporary European Union’s hyperbolic, regained whiteness and reiterated ideology of Occidentalism brutally reproduce the regimes of racial and class coding that govern economic, social, and political inequality in Europe.

Therefore the three parts can be seen as a dialectical process that goes from positivization (implying brutal gender policy or genderization) through negation (the politically queer as dismantling the singular history of the former Eastern Europe as only the heterosexual, white, and patriarchal space on the other side of the Iron Curtain), and then to an even more brutal “synthesis” in class racializations. The outcome of the latter also implies a change from biopolitics to necropolitics, or from a mode of life that is based on the management of life (bios) to a mode of life that capitalizes on real, social, and symbolic death (necro). This change became painfully visible on September 11, 2001, and was intensified by the crisis in 2008.

Therefore, I want to expose the ways in which gender, class, and race were and are overdetermined, but without falling into the simplification that they are merely contradictory.

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