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Sacrificing blood and accruing political energies
Durham University.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper analyses the protest of the Red Shirts (United front of Democracy against Dictatorship) staged in Bangkok in 2010 by the supporters of exiled PM Thaksin Shinawatra and culminating in a mass blood donation. Protesters fielded both sacrificial and biomedical discourses, paramedics as well as a person dressed as a Brahmin took active part in the operation. In its aspect of biopolitical counterconduct the mass blood donation can be read as a form of political contestation based on controlled disembodiment, shedding the essence of life. The blood donation’s hygienic faultlessness during the sampling phase was captured by the global media and opposed by a counterintuitive pooling of blood in large plastic bottles, carried in procession to government buildings’ gates and splashed on asphalt. A complete subversion of the rhetoric of previous ‘gift’ usually attached to the donation procedure. By wasting and casting away blood in a sacrificial ritual of disembodying engagement, new political individual and collective energies were accrued in a time of political crisis and transition. A form of democratic citizenship was campaigned by a political opposition that was promptly portrayed by the government as being un-Thai, and using a prominently biomedical rhetoric as particles to be expelled from the body of the nation, as red ‘germs’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-332351OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-332351DiVA: diva2:1152952
Conference
South-East Asian Studies Symposium, University of Oxford, 22–23 March
Available from: 2017-10-26 Created: 2017-10-26 Last updated: 2017-10-26

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http://projectsoutheastasia.com/academic-events/sea-symposium-2014/panels/health-personhood-containment-hsu

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Merli, Claudia
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