Branding Citizens: The Logic(s) of a Few Bad Apples
- 452 Downloads
This paper uses rhetorical assemblage to demonstrate how particular citizens are branded “bad apples” to protect state and economic practices that enable violence. This paper looks specifically at the media coverage of George Zimmerman (shooter of Trayvon Martin) and the Lt. Robert Bales (alleged shooter of 16 Afghan people) who are both deemed “bad apples.” The media contends that each man acted out of hyper-vigilance, racism, and/or mental illness, thus relieving the nation-state of any culpability in their actions at home or abroad. The paper, then, argues that the use of “the bad apple” occludes the neoliberal logics of personal responsibility, privatization, US exceptionalism, and protectionism that enable state violence inside and outside the USA.
KeywordsNews Story State Violence Neighborhood Watch Bare Life Affective Identification
- Achbar, Mark, Jennifer Abbot, and Joel Bakan, directors. 2003. The Corporation. Vancouver, BC: Big Picture Productions.Google Scholar
- Afghanistan shootings suspect set to face charges in US, says expert. 2012. The Guardian, March 18. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/18/afghanistan-shootings-suspect-charges. 22 December 2014.
- Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Arvidsson, Adam. 2006. Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar
- Azimy, Qais. 2012. No One Asked Their Names. Al Jazeera, March 19. http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/asia/no-one-asked-their-names. 22 December 2014.
- Beaumont, Peter. 2012. ‘He’s a normal guy,’ says neighbor of US Sniper Accused of Afghan Killings. The Guardian, March 19. http://m.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/18/robert-bales-us-soldier-accused-of-afghan-massacre?cat=world&type=article. 19 March 2012.
- Dam, Bette. 2012. Why did they not stop the killings? Salon, March 15. http://www.salon.com/2012/03/15/why_did_they_not_stop_the_killings/. 22 December 2014.
- Dean, Jodi. 2009. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Leftist Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Google Scholar
- ———. 2011. Roundtable: Three Theses on Neoliberalism (or Contestants, but not Entrepreneurs). American Political Science Association. Septermber 2011. Google Scholar
- DeLanda, Miguel. 2006. A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity. London: Continuum. Google Scholar
- Dingo, Rebecca. 2012. Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Google Scholar
- Dorell, Owen, and Jim Michaels. 2012. Afghan massacre, mental health check could come first. Veterans for Common Sense.com, 19 March. http://veteransforcommonsense.org/2012/03/19/in-afghan-massacre-mental-health-check-could-come-first/. 22 December 2014.
- Duggan, Lisa. 2004. The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Google Scholar
- Frank, Thomas. 2005. What’s the Matter with Kansas? How the Won the Heart of America. New York: Holt. Google Scholar
- Hesford, Wendy. 2005. Kairos and the Geopolitical Rhetorics of Global Sex Work and Video Advocacy. Just Advocacy? Women’s Human Rights, Transnational Feminisms, and the Politics of Representation, eds. Wendy S. Hesford, and Wendy Kozol, 146–172. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Google Scholar
- Justice for Trayvon… but how?. 2012. Words and Steel, March 19. http://wordsandsteel.tumblr.com/post/19601359463/justice-for-trayvon-but-how. 22 December 2014.
- Klein, Naomi. 2000. No Logo. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
- Lury, Celia. 2004. Brands: The Logos of the Global Economy. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar
- Ong, Aiwa. 2006. Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Plato. 1952. Gorgias. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Prupis, Nadia. 2014. ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Linked to Rise in Homicides, Extreme Racial Bias: Study. August 14. Web. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/08/14/stand-your-ground-laws-linked-rise-homicides-extreme-racial-bias-study. 12 May 2015.
- Puar, Jasbir K. 2005. Queer Times, Queer Assemblages. Social Text 84–85, 3–4 (November): 121–139. Google Scholar
- Re-nigging on the Promises: #Justice4Trayvon. 2012. The Crunk Feminist Collective, March 16. http://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/3459/. 22 December 2014.
- Robles, Frances. 2012. Shooter of Trayvon Martin a habitual caller to the cops. The Miami Herald, March 17. Web. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/17/vfullstory/2700249/shooter-of-trayvon-martin-a-habitual.html#storylink=cpy%23storylink=cpy. 19 March 2012.
- Shirazi, Nima. 2012. American Morlocks: Monsters of a murderous Afghan policy. Salon.com, March 14. http://www.salon.com/2012/03/14/american_morlocks_monsters_of_a_murderous_afghan_policy/. 22 December 2014.
- Weinstein, Adam. 2012. The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained. Mother Jones, March 18. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained. 22 December 2014.
- Wingard, Jennifer. 2013. Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State. Lantham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar