Friday, January 25, 2013

Gun control and "the powers"

Rick Elgendy is a fellow doctoral student here at the University of Chicago Divinity School who is doing work in political theology, offering an account of the possibility of resistance within a situation of complicity to the powers by critiquing various theological explications and constructing his own with the help of Barth and Foucault. On a more personal note, I'd also say that Rick has been a great help in bringing many of us from younger cohorts of the program together to read and critique each other's work... one might say he has helped us in resisting the principalities and powers present in academia that often lead one to non-collaborative and solipsistic work regimens.

Rick has a new post on "The Irony of Gun Control" at the Political Theology blog where he applies his work to some underlying assumptions of the current gun debate:

"any view that treats guns as simply subordinate to the purposes of those who wield them only partially describes their effect on us.  We have to take into account that the expansion of human power – in this case, to wound and kill – itself draws us into certain situations and logics that may render us the subjects of our ability and technology. Looking at gun control through the lens of “the powers” enables us to see how the actions we take contribute to a living and dynamic culture in which personal responsibility of the sort that allows us to demarcate “good guys” from “bad guys” is not eradicated, but complicated.  Each one of us benefits from the protection assured by the threat of guns; each one of us could be the next life they claim as recompense, without regard for personal rectitude. This perspective would require us – all of us, though in different ways and to different degrees – to see ourselves as both complicit with this power and the victims of it."

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