Precarious Subjects: Ethics of Witnessing and Responsibility in the Plays of debbie tucker green | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1979
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1987



This article considers the complex ethics articulated in the work of black British playwright debbie tucker green. Drawing on Judith Butler, Hans-Thies Lehmann and Kelly Oliver as its key theoretical lenses, the article examines the interface of witnessing, precariousness and responsibility in dirty butterfly (2003), born bad (2003), stoning mary (2005) and random (2008) by paying close attention to the plays’ affective registers. The piece proposes that tucker green’s interrogation of the address-response frame through a double negation of ‘the human’, exposes the limitations of witnessing and responsibility and promotes a politics of affect. The article also makes a case that the positioning of the audience as witnesses to dehumanization and grief operates as an ethical and political trope that opens up the space for mobilizing a collective response-ability vis-à-vis the value of human life.


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