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Correlating Sovereign and Biopower

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Correlating Sovereign and Biopower

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... The burgeoning literature on the state of exception identifies very little space for resistance (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005Edkins & Pin-Fat 2004;Minca 2007). In this framework, the worldwide expansion of the state system has resulted in an all-encompassing, unitary, and increasingly globalized sovereign power (Dillon 2004). The sovereign gains authority not simply by establishing and enforcing laws within a territory, but specifically through the deployment of the state of exception: a time/space where others must follow the laws, but the sovereign can operate outside of the legal system if it perceives a threat to its authority (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005. ...
... The burgeoning literature on the state of exception identifies very little space for resistance (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005Edkins & Pin-Fat 2004;Minca 2007). In this framework, the worldwide expansion of the state system has resulted in an all-encompassing, unitary, and increasingly globalized sovereign power (Dillon 2004). The sovereign gains authority not simply by establishing and enforcing laws within a territory, but specifically through the deployment of the state of exception: a time/space where others must follow the laws, but the sovereign can operate outside of the legal system if it perceives a threat to its authority (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005. ...
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The world is experiencing one of the largest movements of people in history with 65 million people displaced by conflict in 2015, the majority of which were from Asia. This book brings a deep engagement with individuals whose lives are shaped by encounters with borders by telling the stories of a poor Bangladeshi women who regularly crosses the India border to visit family, of Muslims from India living in Gulf countries for work, and the harrowing journey of a young Afghan man as he sets off on foot to Germany. The international and interdisciplinary work in this book contributes to this moment by analyzing how borders are experienced by migrants and borderlanders in South Asia, how mobility and diaspora are engaged in literature and media, and how the lives of migrants are transformed during their journey to new homes in South Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
... Speaking about, or on behalf of, the vulnerability of others must remain constantly vigilant to Foucault's 'biopower' , the sovereign power over life (Dillon 2004).The production of knowledge about the other is more than the simple exercise of an observer, but part of a practice of power that does and undoes the others. That is the case of the biopolitical exercise that produces the interdependent relation ...
... The changing notions of 'the nexus' as political concept/practice and lived experience are further explored in the articles in this special issue. Björn Hettne's (2010) tracing of the macro-history of the evolution of the security-development dynamic in the European scene, for instance, helps us to see how the entrenched 'grids of intelligibility' (Dillon, 2004) for understanding security-development have evolved. The remaining articles offer detailed accounts of how contemporary articulations of 'the nexus' play out in the politics of aid, the control and outlawing of migration, and the shift in focus to the security of people living within states (Duffield, 2010); the policies and practices in the war on gangs in a South African township (Jensen, 2010); and the local, both contradictory and mutually reinforcing, experiences of people in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Orjuela, 2010). ...
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It is now beyond doubt that attention to the ‘security—development nexus’ has become commonplace in national and global policymaking. However, how ‘the nexus’ is differently imbued with meaning and ultimately employed remains underexplored. In this article, we suggest a possible framework for mapping the multiple understandings that underlie specific articulations of ‘the nexus’ in order to reveal the ways in which meaning may shift in different (yet seemingly similar) discourses. To this end, we draw upon familiar stories about ‘development’ and ‘security’, and we offer a brief reading of ways in which ‘the nexus’ is articulated in policy texts. Ultimately, this framework may hint at what such articulations may imply for the policy agenda.
... In setting up my inquiry in this way, however, I am not suggesting that there is one universal logic of security that underwrites all struggles for security. Nevertheless, as many critical security scholars argue, dominant modern discourses of politics frame prevailing notions of political community, possible subjects of security, and relations between (sovereign) self and other in times of perceived threat and danger (see, for example, Burke, 2002;Connolly, 2004;Dillon, 1996Dillon, , 2004Inayatullah & Blaney, 2004;Walker, 1993Walker, , 2004. Grammars of security are powerful insofar as they inform how people believe they need to seek safety and avoid harm, as well as the choices that they make based on those beliefs. ...
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One way of exploring the paradox of (in)security and its implications for the reproduction of violence is to inquire into how the promise of a secure subject is inscribed in discourses of (in)security. Why is the successful securing of 'we' impossible? How might the supplementary relationship between security and insecurity inform the inscription of 'we' as the sovereign subject of security? Arguably, integral to the promise of an assured security is the concealment of the impossibility of fulfilling this very promise. This article aims to closely examine how a specific 'we', as the 'subject' of security, is constructed. Reading from the (in)security narratives of Mayan women narratives that reflect the lived experiences of marginalized peoples struggling for security in resistance - it explores how the inscription of a specific and multiple identity, 'Mayan women', as the subject of security enacts and resists many of the dangers of securitizing identity that seem to be attendant to modern logics or grammars of security. Looking at how the impossible promise (or the ultimate failure) of securing identity plays out in a particular site among people whose voices are not often heard in writings on security invites reflection over failure as an opening for rethinking (m)securing identity.
... The burgeoning literature on the state of exception identifies very little space for resistance (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005Edkins & Pin-Fat 2004;Minca 2007). In this framework, the worldwide expansion of the state system has resulted in an all-encompassing, unitary, and increasingly globalized sovereign power (Dillon 2004). The sovereign gains authority not simply by establishing and enforcing laws within a territory, but specifically through the deployment of the state of exception: a time/space where others must follow the laws, but the sovereign can operate outside of the legal system if it perceives a threat to its authority (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005. ...
Book
Full-text available
The world is experiencing one of the largest movements of people in history with 65 million people displaced by conflict in 2015, the majority of which were from Asia. This book brings a deep engagement with individuals whose lives are shaped by encounters with borders by telling the stories of a poor Bangladeshi women who regularly crosses the India border to visit family, of Muslims from India living in Gulf countries for work, and the harrowing journey of a young Afghan man as he sets off on foot to Germany. The international and interdisciplinary work in this book contributes to this moment by analyzing how borders are experienced by migrants and borderlanders in South Asia, how mobility and diaspora are engaged in literature and media, and how the lives of migrants are transformed during their journey to new homes in South Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
... 3 For a discussion of 'grids of intelligibility', see Butler (2004a); Dillon (2004);Foucault (2005). ...
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... The burgeoning literature on the state of exception identifies very little space for resistance (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005Edkins & Pin-Fat 2004;Minca 2007). In this framework, the worldwide expansion of the state system has resulted in an all-encompassing, unitary, and increasingly globalized sovereign power (Dillon 2004). The sovereign gains authority not simply by establishing and enforcing laws within a territory, but specifically through the deployment of the state of exception: a time/space where others must follow the laws, but the sovereign can operate outside of the legal system if it perceives a threat to its authority (Agamben 1998(Agamben , 2005. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The world is experiencing one of the largest movements of people in history with 65 million people displaced by conflict in 2015, the majority of which were from Asia. This book brings a deep engagement with individuals whose lives are shaped by encounters with borders by telling the stories of a poor Bangladeshi women who regularly crosses the India border to visit family, of Muslims from India living in Gulf countries for work, and the harrowing journey of a young Afghan man as he sets off on foot to Germany. The international and interdisciplinary work in this book contributes to this moment by analyzing how borders are experienced by migrants and borderlanders in South Asia, how mobility and diaspora are engaged in literature and media, and how the lives of migrants are transformed during their journey to new homes in South Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
... Dillon has written that despite the fashion of speaking about the demise of sovereignty, political thought and practice have to still struggle with terrains of power throughout which the legitimating narratives, iconography and capabilities of sovereign power remain amongst the most persistent, and powerfully and threatening globally. 95 The sovereign territorial ideal, as Murphy reminds us, continues to exert a powerful normative influence. 96 He writes, "The approach to the relationship between politics and territory that emerged in the wake of the Peace of Westphalia, and that came to undergird the state system . . . ...
Article
Despite the crucial role it played in the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, the phenomenon of passportisation has not received a great deal of scholarly attention. Much of the literature has treated the mass distribution of Russian passports to the residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as little more than a strategy to manufacture an excuse to go to war with Georgia. Drawing on recent scholarship on territory and territoriality, as well as with literature addressing Agamben's theories of exceptional spaces, this paper contributes to a more nuanced understanding of passportisation by analysing the territorial effects it produced. It argues that the wholesale conversion of Abkhazians and South Ossetians into Russian citizens did not merely manufacture a casus belli, it also produced exceptional spaces within the territory of the Republic of Georgia, where the norms of international law and the modern state system were effectively suspended.
Article
In recent decades, we have witnessed the emergence of new forms of warfare, which are characterized by asymmetry, irregularity and the cybernetization of weaponry. Waged from a distance, these wars have created the impression of decorporealization and low risk, at least for one of the contending parties. In contrast, the same asymmetric conflicts have been sites in which the human body has been utilized as a novel and lethal weapon. Although much scholarly attention has been paid to suicide attackers who have become symbolic (if dystopic) figures of this new warfare, this article draws attention to their inverse figure: human shields. The human shield risks life not to destroy and terrorize others but to resist organized violence and protect others. This article explores the figure of the human shield, situating it within the context of global moral spectatorship, international humanitarian law and biopolitical warfare. Arguing that the human shield is both a symptom and the immanent critique of the present, one that exposes its multiple contradictions, this article makes a case for the importance of the figure of the human shield for contemporary politics.
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In building on the scholarship that recognizes the complexity of world order, we emphasize that emerging notions of world order were connected to postwar planning efforts that involved liberal conceptions of reconstruction and the management of vulnerable populations, such as displaced persons. We argue that one way in which world order was constituted was through a biopolitical orientation, one that takes 'life' and 'population' as key objects of intervention. This orientation, key to the work of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), stimulated diverse practices in the expansion of an array of expertise, in the initiation of health, shelter, and food procedures for targeted populations, and in the development of the biopolitical management of these populations. Our analysis shows that postwar world order was a matter of intervention and of taking seriously how certain experts, populations, and calculated information entered into its fields, activities, and projects of reconstruction.
Chapter
The body count of dead American soldiers in Iraq now exceeds 2,000.2 To date, there is no official body count of Iraqis killed—civilian or combatant3—in this most recent war on terror. U.S.-led coalition forces have not kept count, and in the words of General Tommy Franks; “We don’t do body counts.” Iraq Body Count, a nongovernmental organization unofficially sponsored by the United States and United Kingdom, estimates the civilian deaths resulting directly from coalition military action between 28,000-32,000 casualties.4 A number of independent studies, however, such as the much-denounced study led by Dr. Les Roberts and published by the Lancet, have estimated the number of Iraqi civilian casualties at more than 100,000, an estimate that Dr. Roberts claims is based on rather conservative assumptions.5 In responding to this study a Pentagon spokesperson stated: “[T]his conflict has been prosecuted in the most precise fashion of any conflict in the history of modern warfare.”6 While the loss of any “innocent lives” is tragic, he went on to say, and something coalition forces have worked hard to avoid, there is no way to confirm the accuracy of the report and, more importantly, that any report on civilian casualties must consider how “former regime elements and insurgents have made it a practice of using civilians as human shields, operating and conducting attacks against coalition forces from within areas inhabited by civilians.”7
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The confrontation between asylum seeking and sovereignty has mainly focused on ways in which the movement and possibilities of refugees and migrants are limited. In this volume, instead of departing from the practices of governance and surveillance, Puumala begins with the moving body, its engagements and relations and examines different ways of seeing and sensing the struggle between asylum seekers and sovereign practices. Puumala asserts that our political imagination is being challenged in its ways of ordering, practicing and thinking about the international and those relations we call international. The issues relating to asylum seekers are one example of the deficiencies in the spatiotemporal logic upon which these relations were originally built; words such as ʼnation’, ‘people’, ‘sovereignty’ and ‘community’ are challenged. Conventional methods of governing, regulating and administering increased forms of mobility are in trouble, which gives rise to the invention of new technologies at borders and introduces regulations and spaces of exception. Based on extensive fieldwork that sheds light on a range of Europe-wide practices in the field of asylum and migration policies, this book will be of interest to scholars of IR theory, biopolitics and migration, as well as critical security more broadly.
Article
Scholarship of unrecognised states tends to emphasise differences between de jure and de facto sovereignty. However, such research generally lacks a clear theoretical grounding for what defines de facto sovereignty, and paradoxically appears reluctant to abandon non-material notions of this concept. Therefore, this article proposes a classical realist conception of de facto sovereignty as a helpful contribution to studies of unrecognised states, regarding it as the ‘real’ act of supreme and absolute power that fully politically separates one political entity from another. To illustrate this claim, this article focuses on the emergence and demise of the early-1990s Kosovar ‘parallel state’.
Article
This article explores methodological challenges that arose in two perpetrator-centered research projects on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in two different armed forces contexts: the British Army, and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We examine how the interplay between research subjects’, in this case perpetrators’ performances and our own desires and investments as researchers shape the knowledge we produce. Ultimately, we seek to encourage continuing (self-) critical discussions on how various discursive framings and ethico-political desires shape the stories we hear as well as those that we tell.
Article
  Geography, like much of social science, is witnessing a resurgence of interest in Michel Foucault's formation of biopower—the power to make live and foster life. This paper seeks to engage with this interest by staging a dialogue between the work of Nikolas Rose and Paul Rabinow on the one hand and that of Giorgio Agamben on the other. I propose that, while Rose and Rabinow provide a diagnostic for our emerging geographies of “life itself” and outline allied forms of political citizenship known as “biosociality” or “biological citizenship”, it is Agamben who enables us to consider the limit figures to this form of political inclusion. To draw out these limit figures I focus on recent debates surrounding end-of-life decisions and provide examples from the Dignity in Dying campaign and the Not Dead Yet movement. Throughout, I situate this paper within recent debates on posthumanism and the posthuman in geography. In doing so I effectively ask: why, in our seemingly posthuman(ist) times, does much of Western politics seek to decide on the form, the right and, inevitably, the limit of human beings?
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