Publication details [#58309]

Lechuga, Michael. 2014. Affective boundaries in a landscape of shame: Writing HB 56. Journal of Argumentation in Context 3 (1) : 83–101.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Alabama House Bill (HB) 56 passed in 2011 and was written by Kris Kobach. The bill targets migrant groups, pressuring them to “self-deport”. Kobach’s language subjugates migrants in a way that defines their bodies with shame. This paper is interested in how Goodnight and Natanson conceive of risk in the practice of social argumentation. For that, it employs philosophical perspectives of affect to reconsider language as relational, and demonstrate how affective language moves bodies. It then considers the channeling of affect and the ways negative affects get strategically directed at defined subject-individuals, shifting presumption of not belonging onto those bodies exhibiting migrant characteristics within the state. Affect, modulated through language, creates affective boundaries, and this paper demonstrates how Kobach obliges citizens of Alabama to participate in both the shaming of the undocumented migrant and the maintenance of the affective boundary keeping the undocumented migrant body from citizenship.