Timing Problems: When Care and Violence Converge in Stephen King's Horror Novel Christine

Hypatia 32 (2):397-414 (2017)

Judith Butler, Joan Tronto, and Stephen King all hinge human experience on shared ontological vulnerability, but whereas Butler and Tronto use vulnerability to build ethical commitments, King exploits aging, disability, and death to frighten us. King's horror genre is provocative for the imaginative landscape of feminist theory precisely because he uses vulnerability to magnify the anxieties of mass culture. In Christine, the characters' shared susceptibility to psychic and physical injury blurs the boundary between care and violence. Like Butler, King depicts our social worlds encrusted with normative violence: the mundane ways that norms police gender, race, class, and disability identities. And like Butler, King makes undecidability a key feature of human identity: the idea that needs and identities are uncertain. Normative violence and undecidability trouble the starting point of Tronto's care theory—attentiveness to needs—because both concepts invest interdependency with ambiguity and conflict. But like Tronto, King recognizes that care-actors must act, even amid ambiguity and even when their actions make care and aggression converge. Christine's supernatural plot details the psychic possession of an American teenager, but the novel's more terrifying story is about interdependency and how normative violence is not the antithesis of care, but its dark underbelly.
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DOI 10.1111/hypa.12322
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Giving an Account of Oneself.Judith Butler - 2001 - Diacritics 31 (4):22-40.

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Care as the Work of Citizens: A Modest Proposal.Joan Tronto - 2005 - In Marilyn Friedman (ed.), Women and Citizenship. Oup Usa. pp. 130--145.
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