Accepted paper:

Situating de-solidarities: State as a container and container settlements as an "exception state"


Andrzej Wojciech Nowak (Adam Mickiewicz University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

In my paper I propose a metaphor of a "container" as a description of State, following Latour's metaphor of "pasteurization of France", Taylor's concept of "state as container" and "actor-network state" idea (Passoth, Roland). Concept of a container suggests that "state" as a "vehicle" of human agency is an ambiguous way of stabilization (pasteurisation) of fluid relations network. Through this process collective micro-actors transform themselves into macro-actors. State as container stabilizes reality, but the consequences are ambiguous. I analyse ways making state-container a form of "power of demography" (Foucault). I also describe unexpected results in producing solidarity, which is produced by state-container in such processes like mass vaccination, taxes, public schools and public health insurance - power and solidarity were ambiguously allied. That changed in neoliberal era: state-container is using power to produce de-solidarity. Neoliberal state-container is actively decomposing its parts: reality starts to became fluid, unsafe, and open to processes of self-organization and entropy which create de-solidarity and anomy.

I use an empirical example: container settlements in Polish cities. This settlements are laboratories of neoliberal state and social machines for producing situated de-solidarity. Lack of social housing in Poland is a serious social problem recently. State is not able to fulfil its modern promise and secure basic needs as housing, instead is moving the poorest of families to container settlements. They create exception state zones which generate a need for "special" citizens ("parasite"). This demand is fulfilled by criminalisation of residents of public housing and creation new "dangerous class".

panel D3
STS and "the state"