In Gayle Salamon, Gail Weiss & Ann V. Murphy (eds.), 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology. Evanston, IL, USA: pp. 309-314 (2020)

Perry Zurn
American University
There is a kind of living that feels like dying. There is a kind of life marked—relentlessly—by death. The term social death refers to this experience, this rhythm, this walled passage. By definition, social death may belong to whoever—or indeed whatever—lives and dies in a network of relation. Even when conceived of only anthropocentrically, then, the term must apply beyond that, because the human being lives and dies in nonhuman relation. Moreover, social death always occurs out of sync with physical death. As such, its temporality is unique. Social death is already and not yet, long begun and never finished, and one is never quite sure when it will strike; it is out of time. Given the way in which it eddies across existences and temporalities, social death is a chimerical, though no less powerful term.
Keywords social death  slow death  death  thanatology  critical phenomenology  critical genealogy  slavery  genocide  ecocide  epistemicide
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