Thinking with the Intimacy Contract: Social Contract Critique and the Privatization of US Empire.

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  • Author(s): Brown, Rachel H.
  • Source:
    Political Theory. Dec2020, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p692-722. 31p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This essay considers how an "intimacy contract," as a conceptual tool and a political reality, extends existing critiques of the social contract tradition by accounting for the privatized nature of the post-9/11 US empire. Examining critiques by Carole Pateman and Charles Mills, I argue that an intimacy contract uncovers the coercive power relations underlying neoliberal discourses of entrepreneurial freedom. Focusing on migrant labor on US military bases, I provide an overview of the racial, sexual, and settler contracts and the need to extend Mills's and Pateman's critiques of embodiment and spatiality. Next, I suggest how the intimacy contract generates a transnational, embodied account of the labors upholding US empire; a lens into the shifting significance of these labors under neoliberal imperialism; and a chronicling of desire and workers' interests. In conclusion, I suggest how the intimacy contract exposes multiple resistances to US empire and neoliberal capitalism. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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