Policing and Incarceration

Hunger strike and the force-feeding chair: Guantanamo Bay and corporeal surrender

Through the biotechnology of the force-feeding chair and the hunger strike in Guantanamo, this paper examines the camp as a site of necropolitics where bodies inhabit the space of the Muselmann – a figure Agamben invokes in Auschwitz to capture the predicament of the living dead. Sites of incarceration produce an aesthetic of torture and the force-feeding chair embodies the disciplining of the body and the extraction of pain while imposing the biopolitics of the American empire on “terrorist bodies”. Not worthy of human rights or death, the force-fed body inhabits a realm of indistinction between animal and human. The camp as an interstitial space which is beyond closure as well as full disclosure produces an aesthetic of torture on the racialised Other through the force-feeding chair positioned between visibility and non-visibility. Through the discourse of medical ethics and the legal struggle for rights, the force-feeding chair emerges as a symbol of necropolitics where the hunger strike becomes a mechanism to impede death while possessing and violating the corporeal body.

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Volume 37 Issue 2

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