One of the greatest challenges of our times is that of lack of voice for abused bodies. These are the bodies of children and men and women who have inherited the brutalities of colonialism, plantation servitude and slavery and now re-live these miseries in the belly of a rampant global neoliberal and patriarchal capitalism. They are the racialized, sexualized, genderized and godless bodies that first took form in coloniality-modernity in conjunction with the emergence of MAN, the White, rational, disembodied male as HUMAN. They retain their shape today through technologies of vulnerability, with which the manufactured lack of voice works in dynamic synergy. This is particularly the case for South Africa, with its tender histories and distraught presents, raw emotion and sore vulnerabilities of racialized and neoliberal patriarchy. In this paper, we suggest that vulnerability, beyond its potentially devastating effect on souls and livelihoods, may also be a productive site for the articulation of alternative, and habitually silenced voices. In this regard, we explore how a focus on acts of Linguistic Citizenship may orientate thinking on voice and agency to different sites of the body, as well as allow insight into the complex technologies and practices of vulnerability.
voice; bodies; vulnerability; linguistic citizenship; South Africa