Narnia Bohler-Muller

Deputy Executive Director, Democracy and Governance, Human Sciences Research Council and Adjunct Professor, Nelson Mandela School of Law, University of Fort Hare, South Africa.

Compliance: The Uncomfortable Reality of Docile Bodies

The movie ‘Compliance’ is disturbing on many different levels, and left me with a feeling of extreme discomfort, and even disorientation, long after the credits rolled, no less because it is based on true events, referred to by the American media as the “strip search prank call scam’. As the story unfolds in the movie in the same sequence as it did in reality, Sandra, the manager of an Ohio “Chickwich” fast-food outlet, receives a call from a man falsely claiming to be a police detective. Referring to himself as “Officer Daniels” or “Sir”, he accuses a young female cashier, Becky, of stealing money from a customer. He then enlists Sandra’s assistance in physically detaining Becky in the store room of the outlet and strip-searching her. Sandra and two other employees are caught up in events that become increasingly unsettling, escalate throughout, and ultimately culminate in the degrading sexual abuse and humiliation of Becky by Sandra’s boyfriend, Van.

Human Rights for Corporations: The Death of Democracy?

Miraculous you call it babe You ain’t seen nothing yet They’ve got Pepsi in the Andes McDonalds in Tibet (Roger Waters, Amused to Death) In the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010) the United States Supreme Court, its highest jurisprudential authority, recognised corporations as persons with human rights, over-ruling…

Regulating Intimacy (again): Sex Workers as Vixens and Victims


Get your money for nothing And your chicks for free (Dire Straits) My previous contribution on Assange and the Swedish sex scandal drew some ire from feminist bloggers who mostly raised Catherine MacKinnon’s domination politics to refute my arguments relating to sexual consent and the withdrawal of consent. According to some schools of thought, women are…

Regulating Intimacy – Assange, Foucault and Rape


Sweet dreams are made of this/Who am I to disagree?/I travel the world/And the seven seas/Everybody’s looking for something. Some of them want to use you/Some of them want to get used by you/Some of them want to abuse you/Some of them want to be abused. (Eurythmics) Julian Assange is a sort of modern-day Che…

Rescuing Human Rights?

Natural and human rights were conceived as a tool against the despotism of power and the arrogance of wealth. Their co-option by governments means that they have lost much of their critical force and their initial aim and role has been reversed. (Douzinas, 2007: 24). As my dear blog-partner knows well, to err is human.…