“Human” in the Age of Disposable People: The Ambiguous Import of Kinship and Education in <i>Blind Shaft</i>

Rey Chow

in A Time for the Humanities

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229192
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235063 | DOI:
“Human” in the Age of Disposable People: The Ambiguous Import of Kinship and Education in Blind Shaft

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This chapter provides supporting ideas on the intertwined questions of heteronomy and the future of emancipatory politics. It analyzes the context of contemporary China, with a special focus on the film entitled “Blind Shaft,” by Li Yang. It argues that biopolitical warfare disrupts the very notion of the human by producing disposable populations on an unprecedented scale. In the homelessness of the miners represented in the film, the chapter reads both an indictment of the bankruptcy of Chinese socialism at the turn of the 21st century and broader comment on the ontological homelessness produced by modern world politics. It claims that the possibilities for survival and emancipatory politics depend on an ethico-political confrontation with the contemporary global condition of homelessness.

Keywords: human; kinship; heteronomy; politics; Blind Shaft; Li Yang; biopolitical warfare; disposable populations; ethico-political confrontation; homelessness

Chapter.  5302 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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