EPILOGUE
Refugee Returns
Power can be invisible, it can be fantastic, it can be dull and routine. It can be
obvious, it can reach you by the baton of the police, it can speak the language of
your thoughts and desires. It can feel like remote control, it can exhilarate like
liberation, it can travel through time, and it can drown you in the present. It is
dense and superficial, it can cause you bodily injury, and it can harm you without
seeming ever to touch you. It is systematic and it is particularistic and it is often
both at the same time. It causes dreams to live and dreams to die.
—AVERY GORDON,
Ghostly Matters
It is imperative that we always look for the ‘‘something more’’ in order to see and
bring into being what is usually neglected or made invisible or thought by most
to be dead and gone—that is, to always see the living effects of what seems to be
over and done with. We need to see, and then to do something with, the
‘‘endings that are not over.’’
—YEN LE ESPIRITU,
‘‘The Endings That Are Not Over’’
Throughout this book, I have pursued a partial account, assembled from
fragments of evidence, of the conditions that permit a particular discourse
or discipline to arise and order worlds, that give the gift of freedom a
particular form and force for the simultaneous making of hope and de-
spair, law and exception, life and death. Indeed, it has necessarily been a
partial account because a certain limitlessness is implicated in the gift of
freedom, a character vested less in what it gives than in what passes in the
act of giving: its di√use e√ects and direct forces, coercion, discipline, and
normalization, running throughout an ever-expanding social body—in
short, the intensification of imperial powers. To understand the gift of
freedom, then, is to heed the warring nature of the phrase—not just its
Previous Page Next Page