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Agonistic MourningPolitical Dissidence and the Women in Black$
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Athena Athanasiou

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420143

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420143.001.0001

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Political Languages of Responsiveness and the Disquiet of Silence

Political Languages of Responsiveness and the Disquiet of Silence

(p.223) 4 Political Languages of Responsiveness and the Disquiet of Silence
Agonistic Mourning

Athena Athanasiou

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter elaborates on the political performativity of responsiveness that is articulated or withheld in the context of antinationalist modes of accounting for the past. In acknowledging the dead of the rival side, who have been treated as dispensable during the wars of Yugoslav succession, Women in Black public assemblies intervene in the ways in which violences of dispossession committed in the name of national interests came to be perceived, heard, embodied, and remembered in Serbia, but also in other former republics of Yugoslavia. Both during and after the violence, these political subjects have been seeking to counter the attempts of various agents –i.e., official authorities and media- to trivialize or deny the violence that “their own” national intimates inflicted upon others. Through a performative enactment of silence in their public vigils, they reshape the vocal registers that condition the configurations of the political. The chapter pursues such questions: how reflective responsiveness might unsettle the regimes of audibility and speakability associated with the political discourses of dealing with the enduring aftermath of war atrocities? And how does gendered silence “speak” the languages of the political in such contexts.

Keywords:   language, performativity, public assemblies, responsiveness, silence, speakability, violence, vocal registers of the political

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