Ajana 06, (PhD in Sociology from London School of Economics and Political Science Btihaj. "Immigration Interrupted." Journal for Cultural Research 10.3 (2006): 259-273. Print.)
At the level of absolute separation, the figure of nation-state, as it were, is constructed as an autonomous and unified entity whose ontological immanence is premised on sovereignty and self-sufficiency in such a way that the need for exposure (the clinamen) is regarded as obsolete. That is not to say, however, that the possibility of exposure is entirely eliminated from such figure. Instead, exposure becomes that which relates to exteriority only in terms of exchange value and flow of capital – in fact, this kind of exposure is encouraged as it sustains the doctrine of free market and perpetuates capitalism – as well as the emerging modes of measurement which are also applied on human beings, such as quota for asylum seekers and points system for work permits and residence. Nevertheless, measure here is not only the quantifying of dimensionality (How many asylum seekers and immigrants should be let in?) – although this is often presented in some political discourses as the salient point, but more so, measure is the quantifying of ‘responsibility’ (Nancy 2000, p. 180) so much so that the question becomes not only ‘how many?’ but ‘which?’ (Which asylum seekers are ‘genuine’? Which asylum seekers should one be responsible to? Which (skilled/needed) immigrants should be given the right to enter and reside? Which marriages are not sham? In short, which ‘existences’ are deemed worthy of living?). In such a context, measure becomes concurrently the embodiment of exposure as well as enclosure, both of which are, nonetheless, operated within the intentionality of absolute separation.
Through the process of the physical and cultural border separating the U.S. from Mexico, migrants have become hated and dehumanized as the “other” by the government and the people of the privileged America.
Johnson 2007 Dean of UC Davis School of Law(Kevin R., 2007“Opening the Floodgates; Why America Needs to Rethink Its Borders and Immigration Laws”)
Despite the rising death toll, there is no sense of urgency among the public and policymakers to put an end to the human tragedy. Rather, the death beat goes on.Complacency in the United States over the deadly state of border affairs suggests a blindness or indifference to the true human suffering that directly results from border enforcement. Enforcing the border has proven to be extremely difficult. Rather than formulate policies that work, it is far easier to dehumanize the migrant as the “other” and to consider the deaths of “illegal aliens” as simply collateral damage as the nation seeks to defend against a “foreign invasion.”¶ In response to immigration reform proposals, an immigrant civil¶ ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼rights movement emerged in the United States. Protesting the punitive measures under consideration in the U.S. Congress, marchers demanded that immigrants be fairly and humanely treated. In March 2006, more than 100,000 people marched in the streets of Chicago to protest proposed reform legislation, and, soon after, more than half a million people marched in Los Angeles. Cities across the United States saw similar protests.4¶ Despite this emerging movement, the public as a whole remains deeply divided about immigration. Many Americans register vocal opposition to immigration and immigrants. In an April 2005 Fox News poll, 91 percent of the persons surveyed believed that undocumented immigration was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem, primarily because of the feared impact of immigrants on jobs, the economy, and national security. At the same time, however, more than 60 percent of those polled favored giving undocumented immigrants temporary worker status, and only 43 percent favored eliminating all forms of public assistance, including education and health benefits, to the undocumented.5 This poll, consistent with many before and after, exemplifies the nation’s profound ambivalence about undocumented immigrants.¶Ambivalence among the U.S. public, however, can quickly turn into fear and loathing. The public expresses outrage at any hint of “criminal aliens” preying on citizens or immigrants abusing the social welfare system. In 1994, California voters supported an initiative known as Proposition 187 by a 2–1 margin. Absent judicial intervention, the law would have denied benefits, including a public education, to undocumented immigrants and cracked down on “criminal aliens.”6 The strong political support for Proposition 187 convinced then-President Clinton to greatly increase federal border enforcement and rapidly militarize the U.S.Mexico border.7 Although the federal budget as a whole shrank over the 1990s, the budget of the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service skyrocketed as border enforcement became a national priority.
Impact—Causes Bare Life
The border and containment strategies reinforce borders and attempt to define who is and is not a citizen or part of a population. This reduces non citizens to bare life and justifies their death
Doty, Associate Professor School of Politics & Global Studies, 11
[Roxanne Lynn, Published April 12, 2011. “Bare life: border-crossing deaths and spaces of moral alibi.” Page 603-604. http://www.envplan.com/openaccess/d3110.pdf. RH]
Before considering how this phenomenon has played out in US border control strategies I want to highlight two interrelated issues that are addressed somewhat peripherally or implicitly by Foucault but that are key when it comes to examining border politics and policies. First is the issue of citizenship. Foucault's writings refer to the population, but clearly the population is not a monolithic, all encompassing entity. Foucault's writings on biopolitics can and have been interpreted to mean the local or national population thus lending credence to the criticism of his neglect of the international. However, as noted earlier, when his ideas are put to work in the arena of border policies, the international looms large, and it becomes clear that the defini- tion of who is part of the `the population' and who is not is to a great extent what is at stake. So the issue of citizenship and the citizen is vitally important.(9) For the citizen to live, the undocumented must be permitted to die.Those lacking citizenship are potentially bare life.(10) The second issue that warrants consideration is how Foucault understands race. Foucault asks, ``What in fact is racism?'' and refers to the appearance of distinctions, a hierarchy amongst races, and racism's inscription within the state (Foucault, 2003, page 254). However, he is vague on precisely what race is. I am not suggesting that this imprecision needs to be corrected or that it is a lacuna in Foucault's writings. I call attention to this so as to maintain a space for an under- standing of race that can incorporate `differentialist' or `neoracism', which is highly significant in understanding how race enters into contemporary border politics. Nation, citizen, and race have been historically intertwined in complex ways that are virtually impossible to unravel. This is clearly illustrated in contemporary immigration policies in the United States and throughout the world. The origins of the `prevention through deterrence' strategy nicely illustrate connections between the local, national, and global/international and highlight how policies designed for the management of populations at local levels cannot always be considered solely local or national issues. More than this, though, the very distinctions between local, national, and international can be a key aspect of such policies. Three government efforts of the early 1990s that can arguably be considered examples of biopolitics were key to the beginnings of the US border blockade: (1) Operation Blockade/Hold the Linein El Paso, Texas, in 1993; (2) the passage of Proposition 187 in California in 1994; and (3) Operation Gatekeeper in the San Diego/Tijuana area 1994.(11) All of these were, in various ways, focused on issues pertaining to the population and were ostensibly very local in nature. However, they were ultimately intimately connected to the international and to rein- forcing the boundaries between the two.The process of enacting such a reinforcement involved attempts to define precisely who constituted the population. Operation Blockade began far from the center of sovereign US power in the relatively isolated area of El Paso, Texas, which is located at the tip of West Texas. Surrounded by desert, this area in 1993 was the second busiest sector for undocumented border crossings. The busiest was the San Diego sector. Silvester Reyes, the Border Patrol chief of the El Paso sector, unilaterally launched Operation Blockade on 19 September 1993, deploying 400 agents and their vehicles along a 20-mile stretch of the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Nevins, 2010, page 111). Prior to this the border patrol strategy had been to apprehend unauthorized entrants after they had crossed the border. This meant that hundreds of thousands who were suspected of being undocumented migrants were stopped every year. Most of those stopped were El Paso residents of Hispanic appearance. Not surprisingly, this led to charges of racial profiling (Dunn, 2009, page 12).With Operation Blockade, apprehensions dropped 80 ^ 90%. The strategy received much favorable national publicity and was quickly replicated in October 1994 with Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego, California (Nevins, 2010, page 111). The local situation in California was also a significant factor leading up to Operation Gatekeeper, specifically the debates over and eventual passage of Proposition 187, also known as the Save Our State ballot initiative. Proposition 187 was an antiimmigrant measure that proposed to deny public education from elementary to postsecondary levels, social services, and public health care (excluding emergencies) to unauthorized immigrants. It was passed by 59% of California's electorate. The proposition resulted from the efforts of local immigration control groups in California as well as the national antiimmigrant organization, Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR)(12) National level politics were also key factors leading to the border build up of the early 1990s. The antiimmigrant backlash loomed as a potential threat to then President Bill Clinton's reelection. Gatekeeper was followed by Operation Safeguard in central Arizona in 1995, which ``redirected illegal border crossings away from urban areas near the Nogales port-of-entry to comparatively open areas'' (National Border Patrol, 2000). Operation Rio Grande was launched in south Texas in 1997, which encompasses McAllen, Brownsville, and Laredo (National Border Patrol, 2000).
The borderlands have become a state of exception, which is ultimately the most oppressive of the zones of exclusion. The state of exception destroys the human rights offered to those outside the state of exception and reduces those in the state of exception to living in an indefinite state of bare life, with no chance of escape.
Ellerman 9(Antje, Dept of Politics @ U of British Columbia, Undocumented Migrants and Resistance in the State of Exception, p 2-4, http://aei.pitt.edu/33054/1/ellermann._antje.pdf) Giorgio Agamben’s seminal work on the relationship between the individual and the¶ sovereign state is anchored in the concepts of “homo sacer” and “state of exception.” Homo¶sacer, a figure of Roman law, embodies what Agamben terms “bare” or “depoliticized” life¶(1998). Under Roman law, a man convicted of certain crimes was banished from society and¶stripped of his rights as a citizen. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s description of the “naked life” of¶ the refugee (Arendt 1973), Agamben juxtaposes the bare life of homo sacer who subsists in¶ zones of exclusion and rightlessness with the citizen’s “politicized” and rights-based life. The¶existence of homo sacer is central to Agamben’s understanding of sovereign power because the¶possibility of rights-stripping reveals a schism between the individual’s biological existence, on¶the one hand, and her political life, on the other. Reduced to bare, or biological, life, the¶refugee is rendered politically insignificant. Agamben elaborates on this relationship between sovereign power and bare life in his historical treatise State of Exception (2005). The notion of state of exception reflects the augmentation of government powers during times of emergencywhen state sovereignty is perceived to be under threat. In states of emergency, governments suspend elements of the normal legal order and strip individuals of the rights that mark politicized life. The state of exception is thus the ultimate expression of state sovereignty as the power to proclaim the emergency and suspend the operation of law. Agamben’s understanding of life in the state of exception reflects a conception of rights as fundamentally grounded in the institution of national citizenship. Following Arendt, Agamben rejects the notion that human rights are viable outside the confines of membership in the nation-state. Instead, “the so-called sacred and inalienable human rights are revealed to be without any protection precisely when it is no longer possible to conceive of them as rights of the citizens of a state” (1998, 126). Accordingly, it is those excluded from citizenship—the refugee, the stateless person, the illegal migrant—who most fundamentally represent bare life in the exception.In Agamben’s work, the zone of exception is most clearly embodied in the detention center and (concentration) camp. In State of Exception, Agamben treats the detention center at Guantanamo Bay not only as the exception’s incarnation, but also as a case whose exceptionalism surpasses that of comparable zones of exclusion: “What is new about President Bush’s order [of November 13, 2001] is that it radically erases any legal status of the individual, thus producing a legally unnamable an unclassifiable being. Not only do the Taliban captured in Afghanistan not enjoy the status of POWs as defined by the Geneva Convention, they do not even have the status of persons charged with a crime according to American law. Neither prisoners nor persons accused, but simply “detainees,” they are the object of a pure de facto rule, of a detention that is indefinite not only in the temporal sense but in its very nature as well, since it is entirely removed form the law and from judicial oversight.” (2005, 4-5) Agamben’s description of bare life in Guantanamo thus suggests that the denial of citizenship rights not only deprives individuals of the prospect of ever leaving behind bare life, but the related denial of a legal identity completely strips homo sacer of any state protection whatsoever. In Homo sacer and State of Exception, Agamben focuses his theoretical lens on the sovereign’s power over the individual. Sovereign power in the state of exception appears totalitarian in nature: not only does it hold complete sway over the individual, but, in contemporary societies, the state of exception is permanent, rather than temporary (2005, 2). While Agamben’s notion of sovereign power does not explicitly rule out the possibility of resistance against the state, there does not appear to be much scope for acts or disobedience. To borrow from Rajaram and Grundy-Warr (2007), “bare life is, in extremis, that condition of abjection from which no thought of resistance is possible. Power and resistance are separated by the decisionist sovereign who identifies the space of the law and its limits. …. Sovereign power is the decisive exercise of control over subjects, including the confinement of subjects to a position of bar abjection.” (2007, xxi)
The border divides the population into superiors and inferiors and articulates criteria for the interior and the exterior. This results in both the management of life and death that both end in biopower and a loss of value to life.
Ajana, Lecturer in Culture, Digital Humanities & Creative Industries at King’s College London. 2005 [Btihaj, 2005 “Surveillance and Biopolitics,” Electronic Journal of Sociology. RH]
Subtle, internalised, and smooth (but not all too smooth) as it is, (post)panoptical surveillance induces a certain conscious relation to the self and organises the ‘criteria’ for inclusion and exclusion (Rose, 1999: 243). Borders are thus the spatio-temporal zone par excellence where surveillance gives substance to the working of biopolitics and the manifestation of biopower. In this case mobility itself becomes intrinsically linked to processes of the ‘sorting’ of individualised citizens from massified aliens. We can almost forgive theorists such as Bauman (1998, in Boyne, 2000: 286) for wanting to articulate a dichotomous logic that hinges on the notion of border, for, at times and at least with regard to circulation (that is, the circulation of ‘people’, for as far as ‘commodities’ and ‘capital’ are concerned, their free movement is encouraged and sustained by the global capitalist machine), the world seems to be divided into two. Those who have European/American/Australian/Canadian passports and those who do not.We all know all too well what difference this makes in terms of border crossing. Nevertheless, such conceptualisation misses the point that borders are not merely that which is erected at the edges of territorial partitioning and spatial particularity, but more so borders are ubiquitous (Balibar, 2002: 84) and infinitely actualised within mundane processes of ‘internal’ administration and bureaucratic organization 1 blurring the dualistic logic of the inside and the outside on which Western sovereignty is calibrated. The point is that in addition to this crude dual division within the global world order there are further divisions, further segmentations, a ‘hypersegmentation’ (Hardt, 1998: 33) at the heart of that monolithic (Western) half which functions by means of excluding the already-excluded on the one hand and incorporating the already-included and the waiting-to-be-included excluded on the other. This is done more or less dialectically, more or less perversely, including and excluding concurrently ‘through a principle of activity’ (Rose, 1999: 240) and interwoven circuits of security. Surveillance is the enduring of exclusion for some and the performance of inclusion for others to the point where it becomes almost impossible to demonstrate one’s ‘inclusion’ without having to go through the labyrinth of security controls and identity validation, intensified mainly, but not solely, at the borders. It is in similar contexts that Balibar (2002: 81) invokes the notion of ‘world apartheid’ in which the dual regime of circulation is creating different phenomenological experiences for different people through the ‘polysemic nature’ (Balibar, 2002: 81) of borders. For as we have discussed, borders are not merely territorial dividers but spatial zones of surveillance designed to establish ‘an international class differentiation’ and deploy ‘instruments of discrimination and triage’ (Balibar, 2002: 82) whereby the rich asserts a ‘surplus of right’ (Balibar, 2002: 83) and the poor continue to exercise the Sisyphean activity of circulating upwards and downwards until the border becomes his/her place of ‘dwelling’ (Kachra, 2005: 123) or until s/he becomes the border itself. Sadly, to be a border is to ‘live a life which is a waiting-to-live, a non-life’ (Balibar, 2002: 83). The biopolitics of borders is precisely the management of that waiting-to-live, the management of that non-life (the waiting-to-live and the non-life of those who are forcibly placed in detention centres), and at times, it is the management of death. The death of thousand of refugees and ‘clandestine’ migrants drowned in the sea (for instance, in the Strait of Gibraltar which is argued to be becoming the world’s largest mass grave), asphyxiated in trucks (as was the fate of 58 Chinese immigrants who died in 2000 inside an airtight truck at the port of Dover), crushed under trains (the case of the Channel Tunnel) and killed in deserts (in the US-Mexican border for example). It is the management of ‘bodies that do not matter’. It is the management of the bodies of those to whom the status of the ‘homo sacer’ (Agamben, 1998: 8) is attributed. It is the management of those whose death has fallen into the abyss of insignificance and whose killing is not sacrificial (except to the few). On the other hand, the biopolitics of borders is also the management of ‘life’; the life of those who are capable of performing ‘responsible self-government’ (Rose, 1999: 259) and self-surveillance i.e. those who can demonstrate their ‘legitimacy’ through ‘worthy’ computer-readable passports/ID cards that provide the ontological basis for the exercising and fixing of identity and citizenship at the border.
Living in a bare life nature strips people of political rights and leaves them in a state of “suspended life and suspended death”
Lee 2010, works at the interface of critical theory, cultural studies, and citizenship/democracy studies. focuses on the cultural politics, practices, and discourses of migrant domestic workers [Charles, “Bare Life, Interstices, and the Third Spaces of Citizenship,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, 38.1/2]
In Homo Sacer, Agamben looks at the modern concentration camp as¶ the paradigmatic case of the ultimate state sovereignty that intersects¶ juridical power and biopower. Constituted as a state of exception, the¶ Charles T. Lee 59¶ camp designates a space where the inmates are neither living as political¶ subjects endowed with juridical protections nor declared dead or outside¶ the rule of law (Agamben 1998). Rather, placed in a lingered state of “bare¶ life,” the camp dwellers are stripped of political rights and reduced to a biological¶ minimum, a state of “suspended life and suspended death” (Butler¶ 2004, 67).¶ As a state of exception, the camp signifies an external space while¶ remaining immanent and attached to the juridico-political order (Isin¶ and Rygiel 2007, 183). In Agamben’s words, “The exception does not¶ subtract itself from the rule; rather, the rule, suspending itself, gives rise¶ to the exception and, maintaining itself in relation to the exception, first¶ constitutes itself as a rule” (1998, 18). Inside the camp, the norm and the¶ exception are indistinguishable: the exception is found to be part of the¶ rule, and sovereign power is both legal and outside the law, both “outside¶ and inside the juridical order” (15). In “legally” suspending the validity¶ of the law, sovereignty interjects normalcy and exceptionality and defines¶ its power through interstitiality in constituting the camp where “exclusion¶ and inclusion, outside and inside, bios and zoē, right and fact, enter into a¶ zone of indistinction” (9) For Agamben, this interstitial zone signifies a breakdown of “subjective¶ right and juridical protection,” a space of abjection where laws are¶ completely suspended and anything becomes possible (170). The subjects¶ caught within the camp are “so completely deprived of their rights and¶ prerogatives that no act committed against them could appear any longer¶ as a crime” (171). Furthermore, the zone of bare life is not only juxtaposed¶ to the democratic order, but is necessary for its continuing function. In the¶ words of Prem Kumar Rajaram and Carl Grundy-Warr, “It is through the¶ exclusion of the depoliticized form of life that the politicized norm exists”¶ (2004, 33). The normalcy of biopolitical life depends upon the fringe elements¶ of bare life to signify itself as the norm. Sovereignty and biopower¶ are inextricable: “sovereignty is the ability of the sovereign to step outside¶ the law in order to (re)establish the biopolitical regularity or normalcy¶ of life necessary for law itself, the juridical order, to function” (Hannah¶ 2008, 59). Sovereignty perpetuates interstitial zones in maintaining the¶ normalcy of the body politic.¶
Migration study’s prove that there are two conclusions to the framework of migration, first, subjects who are not constituted as “citizens” are intentionally left so that they work as a part of the neoliberal normalcy, and second, irregular migrants are deemed naked in the context of normalcy due to their lack of official status left without juridical protections or human rights.
Lee 2010, works at the interface of critical theory, cultural studies, and citizenship/democracy studies. focuses on the cultural politics, practices, and discourses of migrant domestic workers [Charles, “Bare Life, Interstices, and the Third Spaces of Citizenship,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, 38.1/2]
Agamben’s “camp” thus provides a compelling framework for migration¶ studies that generally results in two conclusions: (1)unauthorized¶ migrants, as subjects who are neither citizens nor strangers, are deliberately¶ left in an exceptional state of irregularity in order to be constituted¶ as a productive part of neoliberal normalcy;and (2) irregular migrants are¶ reduced to the state of homo sacer, a nakedness of sheer life without official¶ status to demand juridical protections of citizenship or human rights. Yet¶ despite the powerful parallel between the camp and undocumented migrate Bare Life, Interstices, and the Third Space of Citizenship¶ it is notable that what begins for Agamben (and his migration studies¶ followers) as an open-ended space of interstitiality posited in sovereignty¶ (i.e., camp, border, detention center)—a zone between life and death, inside¶ and outside, citizenship and illegality—in the end slides into an immobile¶ closure when it comes to the undocumented, who are forced to scramble¶ between a rigid binary between political life (legality, rights, citizenship)¶ and bare life (illegality, no rights, nonparticipation). Such bipolar mapping¶ invites questioning, as one wonders whether it validly accounts for¶ the complex and intricate power relations in refugee and immigrant struggles¶ in various locations. Even if the borderland of unauthorized migration¶ embodies a juridical nonspace that one “cannot celebrate”
Taking away subjective rights creates a world where any discipline is possible and depravity appears as a crime. In order to have bio political life there must be bare life to prove its norm
Lee 2010, works at the interface of critical theory, cultural studies, and citizenship/democracy studies. focuses on the cultural politics, practices, and discourses of migrant domestic workers [Charles, “Bare Life, Interstices, and the Third Spaces of Citizenship,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, 38.1/2] For Agamben, this interstitial zone signifies a breakdown of “subjective¶ right and juridical protection,” a space of abjection where laws are¶ completely suspended and anything becomes possible (170). The subjects¶ caught within the camp are “so completely deprived of their rights and¶ prerogatives that no act committed against them could appear any longer¶ as a crime” (171). Furthermore, the zone of bare life is not only juxtaposed¶ to the democratic order, but is necessary for its continuing function. In the¶ words of Prem Kumar Rajaram and Carl Grundy-Warr, “It is through the¶ exclusion of the depoliticized form of life that the politicized norm exists”¶ (2004, 33). The normalcy of biopolitical life depends upon the fringe elements¶ of bare life to signify itself as the norm. Sovereignty and biopower¶ are inextricable: “sovereignty is the ability of the sovereign to step outside¶ the law in order to (re)establish the biopolitical regularity or normalcy¶ of life necessary for law itself, the juridical order, to function” (Hannah¶ 2008, 59). Sovereignty perpetuates interstitial zones in maintaining the¶ normalcy of the body politic.
Political intervention divides humanity into either citizenship or bare life non participation. Forcing “subjects” to behave as a citizen of a postcolonial state driving a stagnant ideological “life cycle”
Lee 2010, works at the interface of critical theory, cultural studies, and citizenship/democracy studies. focuses on the cultural politics, practices, and discourses of migrant domestic workers [Charles, “Bare Life, Interstices, and the Third Spaces of Citizenship,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, 38.1/2] Yet while chronicling such resistant¶ acts constitutes an urgent political intervention that counters the state of¶ abjection, by understanding citizenship as solely visible and audible political¶acts, this line of critique actually falls into Agamben’s rigid binary that¶ divides humanity into political life (citizenship) and bare life (no rights,¶ nonparticipation)—with the only difference being that the latter, by way¶ of her citizen-like political acts, can now transform and elevate into the¶ position of the former. Importantly, both Agamben and his critics alike¶ have yet to extend his analysis of the interstitiality of sovereign power to¶ 58 Bare Life, Interstices, and the Third Space of Citizenship¶ examine the corresponding, interstitial agency of the abject that sidesteps¶ the binary of bare life and citizenship life.I venture an alternative conception that conceives of citizenship¶ not only as juridical institutions or political acts, but as a hegemonic¶ cultural script that sustains liberal governance in reproducing a “normal”¶ and “proper” mode of social life that interpolates how subjects should¶ behave as citizens.This liberal cultural script of citizenship, articulated¶ through different subscripts, such as membership, politics, economics, and¶ life, governs and regulates numerous material-cultural spheres of social life¶ in liberal and postcolonial states and regions and reproduces a stagnant¶ ideological “life cycle” of citizenship for human subjects.
Biopower views population in multiplicity and wipes away all individual identity. Biopolitical mechanisms by the government are taken for granted and perpetuated by the individuals themselves.
Ajana, Lecturer in Culture, Digital Humanities & Creative Industries at King’s College London. 2005[Btihaj, 2005 “Surveillance and Biopolitics,” Electronic Journal of Sociology. RH]
To begin with, and as proposed by Michel Foucault (2003 ), the concept of biopolitics entails the notion of biopower which, unlike the theory of sovereign right (‘to take life or let live’), is not concerned with the practice of power over the individual/social body but acts at the level of massification instead of individualisation (2003 : 243). It preoccupies itself with the notion of population in its multiplicity and on the global scale and thereby overrides the old right of sovereignty with that of ‘to make live and to let die’. What characterises biopoweris not so much discipline directed at ‘man-as-body’, as was the case in disciplinary society, but the will to control and regulate ‘man-as-species’ in a preventive way so much so that biological life becomes the main problem and the salient concern of politics. Biopolitics is the process by which biopower is exerted and life is managed with the aim to achieve ‘equilibration’, ‘regularity’ (Foucault, 2003 : 246) and ‘normality’ through mechanisms of control and modes of interventionwhich are ‘immanent’ (Hardt and Negri, 2000: 230, and Nancy, 1991: 3) to all areas of life and encompass a myriad of subtle practices operating at the level of relations between human beings. This (historical/political) passage from disciplinary society to control society as Deleuze (in Hardt, 1998: 23, Rose, 1999: 233, and Hardt and Negri, 2000: 22-3) has it is what marks the fundamental shift from centralised power of institutions (such as prisons, schools, hospitals, family, etc) toward rhizomatic networks of control which proceed far beyond explicit disciplinary deployment of power to much more dynamic and implicit forms inscribed into the practices of everyday life. They are necessarily less authoritarian than the former mode of coercive power (Hardt, 1998: 27). From Foucault and passing through Deleuze, it can be understood how what is in question is the dispersion and omnipresence of biopower within the various transactions, relations and flows which render individuals as ‘dividuals’ (Deleuze in Rose, 1999: 234) characterised by their capacities and identified by their pins, profiles, credit scoring, etc, rather than their subjectivities. This withering away of subjectivity is what makes biopower more effective and less obtrusive (Rose, 1999: 236). Without subjectivity, the possibility of resistance fades into the immanent arrangements and administrative operations of biopolitics. It is in similar light that Foucault (2003 : 246) asserts that biopolitics does not intervene in a therapeutic way nor does it seek to individualise and modify a given person. This would entail the production of subjectivity itself. Instead it functions at the level of generality with the aim to identify risk groups, risk factors and risk levels, and therefore anticipate, prevent, contain and manage potential risk, all through ‘actuarial analysis’ and ‘cybernetics of control’ (Rose, 1999: 235, 237) rather than diagnostic scrutiny of the pathological individual. In such a model of power the state is no longer the sole agent of control but individuals/communities themselves participate in their own self-monitoring, self-scrutiny and, self-discipline through mundane and taken-for-granted regulatory mechanisms such as alcohol level testing, community care, technologies of contraception, vaccinations, food dieting, training and other forms of ‘technologies of the self’ (Foucault, 1988). These technologies of the self ‘operate through instrumentalizing a different kind of freedom’ (Rose, 1999: 237); different not in a quantitative sense but insofar as it comes part and parcel of a process of responsiblisation through which individuals are made in charge of their own behaviour, competence, improvement, security, and ‘well-being’.
The stateless citizens stuck in the state of exception have nothing to lose, and are filled with desperation, and through this individualized resistance, they present the greatest threat to the reign of the sovereign power.
Ellerman 9(Antje, Dept of Politics @ U of British Columbia, Undocumented Migrants and Resistance in the State of Exception, p 4-5, http://aei.pitt.edu/33054/1/ellermann._antje.pdf) What is the nature of resistance in the state of exception? Rarely do acts of noncompliance by those reduced to bare life amount to collective acts of civil disobedience. Homo sacer exists in a state of abjection where the scope of resistance falls far short of the resource-demanding standard of organized political action. Instead, the cases of resistance explored in this paper constitute individual acts of desperation that resemble what James Scott aptly termed the “weapons of the weak.” These everyday forms of resistance include acts of “passive noncompliance, sabotage, subtle evasion, and deception” (1985, 31). By contrast to institutionalized politics, then, everyday resistance distinguishes itself by its “implicit disavowal of public and symbolic goals” and is concerned “with immediate, de facto gains” (1985, 33). In other words, the nature of resistance in the state of exception is individualized, rather than collective, oriented toward short-term, rather than systemic change, and fought by means that present an indirect, rather than direct, challenge to sovereign power. For illegal migrants, acts of resistance range from the extreme of hunger strikes and suicide attempts to acts of physical resistance and escape, to the destruction of identity documents. Resistance as an act of desperation only constitutes a viable course of action once the individual has nothing left to lose. In the state of exception, resistance arises from the circumstance that the individual already has lost all claims against the state and thus has little to fear from defying state orders. In other words, the power of resistance lies in the freedom from constraints that limit the scope of noncompliance for those who still have sufficient standing to fear the loss of rights. Ironically, then, it is homo sacer’s extreme political powerlessness that is at the root of resistance and thereby presents a potential threat to sovereign power.
Immigrants, both legal and not, have been targeted and turned into the accursed – Living in a structure without structure, this is bare life.
Smith 11 (Robert, “Endgame Nearing an End: The Production of Bare Life under the U.S. Deportation Regime”, pg. 20, BW)
The archaic-sounding formulation that the homo sacer can be killed but not sacrificed has beenrealized in the bare life of the immigration detainee. One hundred and seven migrants died in ICE custody from 2003 to 2010, many under circumstances only revealed to the public years after the fact, through investigations by the New York Times and National Public Radio (Bernstein 2010). Unlike criminals who must be executed through a formal juridical process, the immigration detainee can die invisibly under the localized sovereignties of ICE officers and prison guards, with no one held accountable. While a sacrifice would be an execution, an inclusion as a citizen, the migrant homo sacer is killed through his exclusion from state-granted rights. Attorneys and advocates attempting to secure medical treatment for detainees have often found that while a clear chain of institutional accountability is in place for those incarcerated under criminal statutes, when immigration detainees suffer abuse or neglect no formal structure exists (Macri 2004). The immigration detainee inhabits a zone of indistinction that is not just theoretical or rhetorical. Furthermore, this zone is not a static place but a passage or process through a zone of indistinction that we will later look at more closely as a topology. The bare life of the immigration detainee can be conceptualized in four stages: “Illegality”: a migrant subject’s experience of living in a state of “illegality” or potential “illegality,” in the territorial U.S.; Arrest (“apprehension”): an encounter between a noncitizen and an enforcement agent that results in deportation or an attempt at prosecution under immigration law; Detention: incarceration or bodily immobilization of a subject on the basis or pretext of immigration enforcement; Deportation (“removal”): coercive transportation outside the physical territory of the United States. Though these stages seem to follow a logical, causal-temporal progression, some of the most striking contradictions of the deportation regime emerge when this sequence is disrupted. What became more apparent than ever before in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was that “illegality” need not exist prior to the noncitizen’s arrest. “IIlegality” is frequently created after the person’s arrest in order to legitimize it. Once the overriding institutional imperative is created to produce deportable bodies, detention can and does take place even in the absence of illegality. This has been shown recently in the detention and even deportation of people who are citizens or permanent residents, often on racialized grounds (Waslin 2010: 104). Further explication of these stages shows how the potential for Illegality, deportability and detainability shape experience and events at least as much as their actuality.
State intervention creates bare life
Kasli and Parla 2009[Zeynep and Ayse, “Broken Lines of Il/Legality and the Reproduction of State Sovereignty: The Impact of Visa Policies on Immigrants to Turkey from Bulgaria,” in Alternatives 34, pg 204] Sovereign states make the ultimate decision to include or exclude primarily by wielding the power of separating the rights of the citizen from the rights of man.8¶ For Agamben, the separation of rights of the citizen from the rights of man is consolidated through the “irrevocable unification of the principle of nativity and the principle of sovereignty” in the formation¶ of the nation-state, resulting in the “inclusive exclusion” of bare life from the political life, or, of zoe from bios. As birth immediately becomes¶ nation, the immigrant’s subjecthood, irrespective of other affiliations, becomes homo sacer (bare life), which is not the subject in the law but subject to the law, suspended in a permanent state of exception.