Compulsory visibility and the infralegality of racial phantasmata

Joseph Pugliese*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


I open this article by offering an exposition of Gilles Deleuze's theorisation on the figure of the phantasm. I then proceed to situate this figure within post-9/11 economies of racial profiling-focusing, in particular, on the Islamophobic mobilisation of the niqab in order to advance arguments premised on differentialist and culturalist racism. Drawing on the work of the British Iranian artist Reza Aramesh, I bring into focus the manner in which racialising somatechnologies are deployed in order to reproduce racist stereotypes and to foment cultural panics. I conclude by underscoring the structural violence that is at once produced and disavowed by Western liberal democracies in the face of unassimilable others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-30
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


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