Centre for Cultural Partnerships - Theses

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    Dissenting fiction re-righting law: practice-led research into biopolitics, women’s rights and reproductive justice in Ecuador
    Galarza, Maria Teresa ( 2017)
    Through a feature-length screenplay and accompanying dissertation this creative practice as research project addresses questions of biopolitics, women’s rights and reproductive justice. The research focuses on my own country, Ecuador, but alludes to a broader Latin American context. In this research, the practice of fiction screenplay writing configured my own understanding of the addressed issues. Based on this understanding, in the dissertation, reflecting upon “The Ladies Room” screenplay, I formulate an explanation around these issues. The first chapter of the dissertation focuses on the legislative context of “The Ladies Room” story. The second, third, fourth and fifth chapters articulate the possible world the screenplay proposes, relative to our four protagonists, respectively. The first chapter juxtaposes Ecuadorian Constitutional and Criminal Law, and public policy, against international human rights instruments with regard to women’s rights. Through the screenplay’s character of Isabel, the second chapter interrogates reproductive coercion and access to safe abortion, the notion of potentiality (not) to, the institution of motherhood and the practice of mothering. The third chapter revolves around Marcia, and how this female character embodies forms of biopolitical power that discipline the body and regulate the population; this chapter also reflects upon the family as an institution and the differential valuation between productive and reproductive work. In the fourth chapter, I understand Alice as a gendered configuration of Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, and it is through her that the screenplay investigates the possibilities of speaking and been heard, the historically conflicting appearance of women before law, and contemporary forms of thanatopolitics. The fifth chapter interrogates the notion of “unwanted” children, articulated by the character of a little girl, Karlita. This proposes a reflection about a child, any child, as a being-after-birth, the pure possibility of a life, that is a life-to-be-mothered, characterized by a constitutive relationality. The dissertation’s final chapter argues for the necessity of beings-after-birth to create another form of biopolitics, one that is no longer a technology of power over life, but of power of life.