The Limits of Sovereign Power

Nick Vaughan-Williams

Edinburgh University Press

For Ning

© Nick Vaughan-Williams, 2009 Edinburgh University Press Ltd 22 George Square, Edinburgh Typeset in Palatino Light by Norman Tilley Graphics Ltd, Northampton, and printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham and Eastbourne A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 0 7486 3732 4 (hardback) The right of Nick Vaughan-Williams to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


Acknowledgements Introduction The concept of the border of the state in contemporary political life A blind spot in International Relations theory? The vacillation of borders The quest for alternative border imaginaries Map of the book 1 Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be: Security, Territory, Law Borders and security: the United Kingdom’s ‘new’ border doctrine Borders and territory: the European Union and the rise of Frontex Borders and law: the United States’ naval base in Guantánamo Bay The need to rethink what and where borders are 2 The Study of Borders in Global Politics: From Geopolitics to Biopolitics Limology: a brief history and current ‘state of the art’ Assuming the concept of the border of the state Acknowledging the concept of the border of the state Further problematising the concept of the border of the state

vii 1 2 4 6 8 10

14 16 24 29 32

38 40 44 47 51



3 Violence, Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order: Problematising the Limits of Sovereign Power Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida: cartographies of violence Carl Schmitt: sovereignty, territory, limits Michel Foucault: the ‘how’ of power Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri: the smooth space of Empire 4 The Generalised Biopolitical Border: Security as the Normal Technique of Government Politics, life, and sovereign power Reconceptualising the limits of sovereign power Generalised border politics: the case of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes 5 Alternative Border Imaginaries: The Politics of Framing Thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border Ethical–political implications of the generalised biopolitical border The politics of framing Conclusion Bibliography Index

65 66 72 77 83

96 97 108 117 130 132 136 146 163 171 185


First, I would like to express my gratitude to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) Centre for Border Studies at the University of Glamorgan for the Research Studentship that funded the PhD thesis on which this book is based; the Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University), and the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, for providing an intellectually challenging yet supportive environment in which to work on the original thesis; and more recently the Department of Politics, University of Exeter, for enabling me to complete the project in final book form. Additionally, I wish to acknowledge the following colleagues, mentors and friends. At Aberystwyth I enjoyed four years as both a doctoral student and temporary Lecturer in International Theory and Security. I would like to thank: Jenny Edkins, for belief in me and the thesis, inimitable good humour and company, and outstanding qualities as a supervisor, mentor, and confidante; Hidemi Suganami, for taking me on as a supervisee somewhat late in the day, and never ceasing to challenge and provoke (and talk about causation); Colin McInnes, for supervisory support in the formative stages of the thesis and professional advice and encouragement as Head of Department; Andrew Linklater, who acted as my internal examiner and provided helpful feedback and advice; Tom Lundborg, for valued discussions and friendship in Aber and for introducing me to the ‘dark precursor’; Cian O’Driscoll for promenade-based pursuits and engaging, though usually just-war-based, conversation; and Columba Peoples for showing us all how it should be done. Outside Aberystwyth, I owe a huge debt to: R. B. J. Walker, for his comments on my thesis as external examiner and intellectual and professional generosity since the viva; Maja Zehfuss, for introducing me to Jacques Derrida, inspiring me to vii

Rens van Munster. Pasha. Andy Schaap. Michael De-Lashmutt. Debbie Lisle. parts of the book have appeared elsewhere at earlier stages in the project and I would like to acknowledge these publications as follows. There are also a number of people who have made this book possible in a more practical sense. the Citizen-Detective. and most importantly our relationship. two other anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. I wish to express my thanks to: John Williams and Yosef Lapid for providing constructive feedback on draft chapters and their generous support of the book. John Heathershaw. I must express my appreciation to Rory Carson. Most recently. and James Brassett. and Colin Wight. and Henning Lindahl for his characteristically excellent work on the jacket design. Nicola Ramsey. Senior Commissioning Editor at Edinburgh University Press. Bice Maiguashca. for her outstanding support and lightness of touch in seeing this project through to completion. I have been exceptionally lucky to have found some excellent colleagues at the University of Exeter. The discussion of Frontex in Chapter 1 was originally developed in an article I published as ‘Borderwork beyond inside/ outside? Frontex. Dan Stevens. Robin Durie. Finally. collegiality. The transition to academic life over the past ten years would not have been possible without the unstinting support of my family. Space . Dan Bulley. Alex Murray. for friendship and intellectual comradeship in Copenhagen and beyond. Mustapha K. Ollie Deakin. Andrew Neal. Angharad Closs Stephens. Noel Parker. and persuading me that life in West Wales wouldn’t be that bad. Also. and especially to my grandmother to whom this book is dedicated. Tim Dunne. her compassionate and intelligent companionship.viii BORDER POLITICS pursue doctoral research. and the War on Terror’. and friendship. Particular thanks are extended to: Tim Cooper. who offer an enviable intellectual context and a lively social scene in equal measure. Luis Lobo-Guerrero. I especially want to thank Madeleine for her patience and understanding while I was working on the book. and Chris Rumford for their ideas. for their unconditional love: they are my backbone and I suspect they do not know how much I value them. Jonathan Githens-Mazer. and Owen Rawlings for reminding me from time to time that life does exist beyond academia. Thanks are due to my mother and father. Neil Curtis for his fastidious attention to detail in the copy-editing process.

Political 32 (2) (April–June 2007). My treatment of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in Chapter 4 is an abridged version of the article ‘The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: New Border Politics?’. 115–36. 4 (2) (December. Law’. Terrorism and the Politics of Response (Abingdon and New York: Routledge). pp. Territory. pp. Alternatives: Global. 34 (1). pp. Elements of Chapter 3 were published as ‘Borders. Millennium: Journal of International Studies. pp. Finally. I am also grateful to Thales International and to the London Metropolitan Police for permission to reproduce Figures 1 and 3. 63–79. which also appears in A.Acknowledgements ix and Polity. 177–96. (April 2008). (2005). Local. Closs Stephens and N. parts of the exegesis of the work of Jacques Derrida at the end of Chapter 5 are based on a section in my article ‘International Relations and the “Problem of History”’. International Political Sociology. VaughanWilliams (eds). 322–38. 2008). Falmouth September 2008 . 12 (1).


class-based forms of stratification. this book focuses upon one particular type of border: the concept of the border of the state. dynamic phenomena that first and foremost involve people and their everyday lives. religious. above all. I say ‘ostensibly’ because. and so on. and located at the geographical outer edge of the polity. Ostensibly. and generational boundaries.1 According to what John Agnew has referred to as the ‘modern geopolitical imaginary’. as I hope will become obvious. Indeed.2 Accompanying this imaginary is a well-known historical account of the emergence and supposed ossification of such borders associated with the transition from overlapping jurisdictions in medieval Europe to the emergence of the modern sovereign state characterised by strict 1 . ‘interstate’ or ‘international’ borders that delimit and delineate states as independent entities in the state system. None of these borders is in any sense given but (re)produced through modes of affirmation and contestation and is. borders are perhaps even constitutive of political life. lived.INTRODUCTION Borders are ubiquitous in political life. In a common understanding of the term. Of course. cultural. and questions about identity and difference. state borders are taken to be territorial markers of the limits of sovereign political authority and jurisdiction. In other words borders are not natural. practices of inclusion and exclusion. regional and geographical differences. neutral nor static but historically contingent. there are many different types of borders that can be identified: divisions along ethnic. different types of borders inevitably fold into one another: the notion of maintaining sharp. politically charged. Borders are inherent to logics of inside and outside. the concept of the border of the state refers to ‘external’. national or racial lines. contiguous distinctions between anything is impossible and inevitably breaks down.

THE CONCEPT OF THE BORDER OF THE STATE IN CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL LIFE Like all concepts in the practice/theory of global politics. and despite historical and contemporary examples of derogations of these regulative ideals. both domestic and international legal and political systems. has had. enshrined in Article 2.3 Irrespective of conceptual or historical accuracy. the concept of the border of the state is politically and ethically charged: its usage in all kinds of discourses must be seen as in part constituting the modern geopolitical imaginary it purports merely to describe. such a compartmentalisation permits a problematic division of labour between scholars of politics on the one hand and international relations on the other. underpinned by the concept of the border of the state. it is integral to conventional notions of the limits of internal sovereignty and authority. there is little doubt that this imaginary. has acted as the cornerstone for regulative ideals such as: the legal existence and equality of all states before international law. Paragraph 4 of the United Nations (UN) Charter which. and timeless anarchy outside. and indeed continues to have. epistemologically and ontologically. significant political and ethical influence on the practice and theory of global politics. since the end of World War II.7 In the international sphere it enables the principle of territorial integrity. and indeed the very condition of possibility for. in shaping thinking about diverse issues in global politics. Domestically.8 As such. reflected in Max Weber’s paradigmatic definition of the state as: ‘a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a given territory’.6 It is clear that the concept of the border of the state does a lot of work.4 One obvious example of the work that the concept of the border of the state does is to allow for a familiar spatial and temporal compartmentalisation of global politics into two supposedly distinct spheres of activity: history and progress inside. without the notion of territorial integrity reliant upon the concept of the border of the state there would simply be no ‘domestic’ .2 BORDER POLITICS territorial delimitations. protection against the promotion of secessionism by some states in other states’ territory. The concept of the border of the state underpins the arrangement of.5 In turn. and territorial independence and preservation.

Introduction 3 and ‘international’ juridical–political orders to speak of in the first place. it is a pivotal concept that opens up – but can also close down – a multitude of political and ethical possibilities. realist and neo-realist perspectives understand security in terms of the history of the defence and/or transgression of states’ borders. identity. the concept of the border of the state is central to the production of citizen-subjects whose identity derived from citizenship provides a series of convenient answers to difficult questions such as Who am I? Where do I belong? What should I do? The concept of the border of the state has also framed the way global security relations are commonly conceptualised. with their emphasis on states’ survival in an anarchical self-help system. the modern political subject is also conceived of as being fundamentally bordered in terms of autonomy before the law. the concept of the border of the state frames dominant notions of who and where the ‘enemy’ of the state is. due to the relative dominance of realist and neo-realist approaches in security studies. Indeed. nationality.9 Hence.10 Although the insights of this approach have been questioned over recent years. aspects of such thinking undoubtedly continue to permeate security practices. though not exclusively. discourses of rights and responsibilities presume the subject of contemporary political life to be an individual whose status is clearly demarcated: a citizen. Indeed. and the likely means of overcoming that threat (interstate warfare). rely on the concept of the border of the state in order to frame their reading of the key elements of security: the referent object of the threat (national security). It orients the convergence of people with a given territory and notions of a common history. This influence has been especially. the concept of the border of the state can be thought of as a sort of compass. Seen in these terms. Not only does this particular border delimit states but also different forms of subjectivity or ‘personhood’ that are produced by the domestic/international juridical-political order. Although the study of security is a fundamentally contested terrain. particularly so since the end of the Cold War. Such approaches. the rise of the notion of ‘homeland security’ in the context of Western governments’ attempts to counter the threat of international terrorism . As a central feature of the architecture of global politics. the source of the threat (other states in the context of anarchy). the modern geopolitical imaginary has had a bearing on the trajectory of the field. In this way. Like the modern sovereign state. language and culture. As has been pointed out elsewhere.

17 and John Williams. Robert Jackson has argued that: ‘it is remarkable that state borders are usually taken for granted by international relations.16 R. the transformation of global .21 Williams neatly sums up the basic point made by all these writers: that borders between states are all too often treated as if they were merely the ‘fixtures and fittings’ of the international system. They are a point of departure but they are not a subject of inquiry.15 Andrew Linklater and John MacMillan.19 political sociology. J. is not only framed by what has hitherto remained unsaid about borders.14 Yosef Lapid. For Chris Brown.22 One of the purposes of this book is to contribute to efforts to address this deficiency within the extant literature. ‘ramparts and stone fortifications.11 A BLINDSPOT IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY? Despite the ubiquity of borders in political life.4 BORDER POLITICS has led to a reinvigoration of border protection initiatives: ‘the new age of the wall has begun’. It also stems from a dissatisfaction with what I consider to be the largely unreflective usage of the concept of the border of the state in diverse claims about global politics. the second is the assertion that borders between states are here to stay. My motivation to write. In this context it is possible to identify two basic. and the particularly privileged position of the concept of the border of the state. ‘neither modern political theory nor IR theory has an impressive record when it comes to theorising the problems caused by borders’. According to the first discourse. B.20 and political geography. are back with a vengeance’.12 Similarly.18 Similar complaints have been made about the strange absence of theoretical reflection on the role of borders in political life in a number of other disciplinary contexts such as political anthropology. a number of writers with very different perspectives have bemoaned what they consider to be the paucity of reflection on these matters in the theoretical literature produced by the discipline of International Relations (IR). Walker. prominent and competing discourses: the first is the claim that borders between states are a thing of the past. writes Guardian columnist Julian Borger. however.’ 13 Others in IR who have written in a similar vein include Mathias Albert. regarded until recently as national relics and tourist attractions.

territorially bordered state has also diminished. . involving the growth of multinational companies.25 By contrast. it is sometimes argued that the erosion of state borders over recent decades threatens the very idea of the Westphalian territorially defined international state system. and various reassertions of territorial sovereignty.29 Despite the fact that an array of evidence can be collected and mounted in defence of both positions. economic change is said to have ushered in new patterns of governance. by now the above debate has reached something of an impasse.23 On this view. This understanding not only reflects. has rendered the notion of a national economy obsolete. security and justice’. Consequently. How might this be done? A preliminary and very straightforward observation concerning the debate is that. sovereign. the second discourse maintains that national economies have been left intact if not actually strengthened by globalisation. the modern geopolitical imaginary.Introduction 5 production. a twenty-four hour market and post-Fordist industries. with its self-portrayal as a ‘borderless area of freedom. could be cited as an example of this transformation.26 According to this perspective. as we have already seen. What the debate excludes is precisely the possibility that the concept of the border of the state has undergone transformation in contemporary political life. but works within and further entrenches.27 Moreover. argue that state borders are more important than ever. especially since the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001. both rely upon a particular understanding of the concept of the border of the state. in which the role of the modern. some writers. there have been challenges to the concept of globalisation and discourses relating to borderlessness. despite the apparent irreconcilability of the two competing discourses. This implies the need for an alternative approach that does not reify the contours of the debate by simply arguing in favour of one side over the other.24 The emergence of the European Union. A focus on whether borders between states are merely ‘present’ or ‘absent’ is blind to dynamics in political practices that challenge the very imaginary within which those claims about ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ are able to make any sense at all. the modern state continues to remain the primary political entity in world politics.28 In the face of mounting American military aggression.

Rather. and perhaps even outside the modern geopolitical imaginary. In turn.32 In this context. conceptually. Thus. which has become particularly equivocal. it is possible to identify similar concerns expressed by a number of writers working with various . he implies the need to think more imaginatively. Balibar is certainly not alone. to begin to grasp what is going on in global politics: ‘borders […] are no longer at the border. security and so on might be framed otherwise. It also radically challenges the kinds of orientation hitherto provided by the modern geopolitical imaginary underpinned by the concept of the border of the state. citizenship. in Balibar’s seemingly paradoxical formulation that ‘borders are no longer at the border’. it is difficult to overstate the enormity of what is at stake. especially when related back to the impasse of the debate above. where one sovereignty ends and another begins’. for Balibar borders are being ‘multiplied and reduced in their localisation. […] no longer the shores of politics but […] the space of the political itself’.31 As such. Instead. an institutionalised site that could be materialised on the ground and inscribed on the map.’ 30 The significance of Balibar’s argument. this raises particularly difficult questions about how issues relating to juridical–political order. The notion that both the nature and location of borders have undergone some sort of transformation requires a quantum leap in the way we think about bordering practices and their effects. historically and politically. identity. subjectivity. […] thinned out and doubled. On the contrary. Balibar offers a provocative starting point for engaging with the debate about the presence/ absence of borders between states without reifying either side. In his call for generating different ways of conceptualising borders. is that the vacillation of borders is not conflated with their disappearance.6 BORDER POLITICS THE VACILLATION OF BORDERS Étienne Balibar has written about the way in which borders in contemporary political life are not necessarily where they are supposed to be according to the modern geopolitical imaginary: ‘We are living in a conjecture of the vacillation of borders – both of their layout and function – that is at the same time a vacillation of the very notion of the border. Balibar’s pithy formulation highlights an urgent need for the development of alternative border imaginaries apposite to the study of the changes he diagnoses.

but they are unlikely to emerge without a more sustained reconsideration of fundamental theoretical and philosophical assumptions than can be found in most of the literature on international relations theory. For example. enacted anywhere. separated by clearly demarcated boundaries.37 David Campbell. many other writers have made equivalent claims about the need for alternative border imaginaries in the study of global politics. albeit in different ways and contexts. who has systematically interrogated the logic of inside/ outside upon which the modern geopolitical imaginary underpinned by the concept of the border of the state rests. Eyal Weizman writes: ‘New and suggestive cartographic representations of today’s world [are required] […] a departure from the traditional view of a world that consists of a series of more or less homogenous [sic] nation states separated by clear borders in a continuous spatial flow. As Walker has argued.Introduction 7 perspectives from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. there has been a noticeable reticence when it comes to the task of conceptualising such alternative border imaginaries and then putting them to work against different backdrops.’ 36 Moreover. Walker. Achille Mbembe has insisted: ‘[I]n [the] heteronymous organisation of territorial rights and claims.39 Yosef Lapid. this reticence is perhaps unsurprising given the stakes involved: Better explanations – of contemporary political life – are no doubt called for. including Didier Bigo. B. This raises the fundamental question: How .43 Michael J.46 Nevertheless. Shapiro.44 and William Walters. issues a similar injunction to Balibar throughout many of his texts. there is a real danger of a growing disjuncture between the increasing complexity and differentiation of borders in global politics on the one hand.’ 34 Likewise.42 Gearóid Ó Tuathail and Simon Dalby.45 Yet. it makes little sense to insist on distinctions between “internal” and “external” political realms.33 Walker argues that: ‘We have shifted rather quickly from the monstrous edifice of the Berlin Wall. J. to a war on terrorism.38 Zaki Laïdi. perhaps the paradigm of a securitized territoriality. and to forms of securitization.40 Noel Parker.’ 35 In the same vein. and yet the apparent simplicity and lack of imagination with which borders and bordering practices continue to be treated on the other. despite these repeated calls. R.41 Chris Rumford.

the insights of the authors above are used initially to problematise the concept of the border of the state. By this I mean that an area of overlap between them is an insistence on detailed analyses of how different entities. On this basis. one of the many problems with the term is that some of the authors whose work is often labelled as ‘post-structural’ simply do not subscribe to or even recognise it as an approach. subjects. authority and legitimacy. In other words. it is precisely how borders work – and how they might be identified. as subsequent discussions will seek to illuminate. power. thus necessitating interrogation in its own right. are particularly apposite to the task in hand because they all share a common interest in critically questioning both the logic and practice of borders in a general sense. states. Indeed. such as concepts. become produced as separate phenomena to begin with. Mbembe. attention is drawn to their production as supposedly singular entities in the first place.48 Moreover. communities and. Here the use of the term ‘problematisation’ relates . political. Walker. rather than taking such entities as somehow distinct from the outset and then merely analysing the relationships between them. with these necessary caveats in mind. violence. From this general theoretical starting point. primarily Giorgio Agamben. I will argue that the thinkers under consideration. To address the central question above the analysis steps outside the literature in IR and related disciplines and draws upon hitherto largely untapped resources for extended thinking about the problem of borders found in post-structuralist thought. indeed. interrogated and sometimes resisted – that is of central concern to the thinkers I have chosen to focus upon. and philosophical work. Weizman and others to develop alternative border imaginaries.8 BORDER POLITICS might it be possible to develop alternative conceptualisations of borders without reproducing the modern geopolitical imaginary? THE QUEST FOR ALTERNATIVE BORDER IMAGINARIES This book responds to the challenge issued by Balibar. Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. The term ‘post-structuralism’ is highly problematical and it is with hesitation that I use it throughout as a heuristic device to refer to a heterogeneous body of social. this prior move to produce entities as distinct relates intimately to questions about force.47 Nevertheless.

in addition to drawing upon the insights of poststructuralist thought to problematise the concept of the border of the state and develop alternative border imaginaries. problematisation interrogates the way that a concept is used in discourse. While the concept of the generalised biopolitical border is shown to be one suggestive response . and surveillance and other aspects of social and political life. the move from a geopolitical to a biopolitical horizon of thinking.49 Instead of asking questions like ‘What is madness?’ Foucault was more interested in exploring how different understandings of madness change over time through an analysis of the field of relations around the concept. discipline. the analysis seeks to consider the relationship between the concept of the border of the state and our understanding of practices of sovereignty. the book also uses the problem of borders to explore some of the limitations of the poststructuralist work under consideration. sexuality. In this regard. my analysis draws upon the insights of Agamben. as a critique of the modern geopolitical imaginary. I develop the concept of the ‘generalised biopolitical border’ which. such as Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. Foucault and Derrida together with other thinkers. On the basis of Agamben’s analysis.Introduction 9 to the method Foucault developed in his various studies of madness. rather than ask ‘What is the concept of the border of the state?’.50 As a method. As well as problematising the concept of the border of the state. however. In particular. how that usage is connected to questions to do with power relations. Finally. and the way in which it is also productive of particular forms of subjectivity. violence and (bio)power in contemporary political life. initially inspired by Foucault and then taken in new and provocative directions by Agamben. can be read as a response to those who call for a more pluralised and radicalised view of what and where borders are in contemporary political life. Therefore. I argue that much promise is to be found in Agamben’s oeuvre for a reconceptualisation of the limits of sovereign power: not as fixed territorial borders located at the outer edge of the state but rather infused through bodies and diffused throughout everyday life. constrained or even concealed by the modern geopolitical imaginary it underpins and sustains. opens up crucial lines of enquiry. the book also draws on the above thinkers in search of critical resources for developing alternative border imaginaries. to think about the work that this concept does: that is to say what is enabled.

The aim is to offer an impression of the current ‘state of the art’ of existing literature that deals in various ways with the concept of the border of the state. On this basis. To this end. I situate the book as a contribution to . and the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists at the United States Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay. The first chapter seeks to illustrate Étienne Balibar’s point that borders are vacillating and not necessarily where they are supposed to be in contemporary political life. the book can be considered as a critical introduction to and commentary on some of the key thinkers associated with a post-structualist perspective. the recent activities of Frontex. different insights and perspectives from a range of writings that can be mobilised to assist in conceptualising emerging practices of the kind outlined in Chapter 1. in a positive fashion. and 2. I argue that it is possible to detect the beginnings of a shift in border studies from a geopolitical to a biopolitical horizon of analysis but that. developing different ways of conceptualising what and where borders are. As such. Cuba. critical geopolitics. the new European Union (EU) border management agency. interrogating the concept of the border of the state. These illustrations provide a crucial empirical backdrop that demonstrates the overall importance of developing new ways of identifying and interrogating borders in the light of contemporary practices. To do this I look at three examples of bordering practices that challenge the modern geopolitical imaginary underpinned by the concept of the border of the state: the emergence and implementation of the United Kingdom’s new global border security doctrine. Chapter 2 then provides a tour d’horizon of the study of borders in IR. there is still much work to be done. and the interdisciplinary subfield of border studies. as well as a contribution to thinking differently about borders in political life. while this has opened up new and exciting avenues of enquiry. in Africa. In this way. the primary purpose of the survey is to accumulate. these have yet to be fully exploited for: 1.10 BORDER POLITICS to the need for different thinking about borders. MAP OF THE BOOK The book is organised into five chapters. problems with this approach are identified in the light of aspects of the work of Derrida.

First. It does so by returning to the examples of the work that the latter does in contemporary political life in respect of framing our understanding of juridical–political order. I use Schmitt’s paradigmatic account of sovereignty and later treatment of the relationship between spatial ordering and law to offer an interpretation of borders as exceptional spaces. Chapter 4 traces Agamben’s engagement with and development of Foucault’s understanding of the biopolitical structures of the West in order to explore the possibilities of his approach for developing alternative border imaginaries. the production of identities of citizen-subjects. I then explore how this alternative . It begins with an exegesis of Agamben’s work although departures are made from extant interpretations in respect of his concept of bare life. Third. Building upon Agamben. the work of Benjamin and Derrida is drawn upon to analyse the violent foundations of the juridical–political order and the work that borders do in upholding such violence. By rereading these examples in the light of the concept of the generalised biopolitical border. sovereignty. Thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border unties an analysis of the limits of sovereign power from the territorial confines of the modern state and relocates such an analysis in the context of a global terrain that spans and decentres notions of ‘domestic’ and ‘international’ space.Introduction 11 ongoing interdisciplinary efforts to employ a biopolitical approach to the study of borders. Chapter 3 moves away from the IR and related literature to explore potential resources in post-structuralist thought for an interrogation of the concept of the border of the state. I develop the concept of the generalised biopolitical border as an alternative to the geopolitical concept of the border of the state. I seek to highlight and examine the relation between state borders and practices of violence. and (bio)power. which offers further scope for a critical interrogation of the concept of the border of the state away from the confines of the modern geopolitical imaginary. the importance of what he calls a ‘logic of the field’. Foucault’s treatment of (bio)power and notion of biopolitics are explored more fully. Developing some of the insights of the literature outlined in the previous chapter. Chapter 5 begins by assessing what the implications of the concept of the generalised biopolitical border might be and how this differs from the concept of the border of the state. Second. and the spatial dimensions of his thought more generally. and global security relations.

1996. 2005. and coherence on ‘global politics’ as a totality in the same way that the concept of the border of the state has done. Paasi. Jackson. 27. . 16. p. Williams. pp. p. Inside/outside. and Williams. pp. The Myth of 1648. 1994. and Prescott. 32. 2. Donnan and Wilson. 8. Linklater and MacMillan. Rethinking Geopolitics. Teschke. 2005. p. 18. Frontiers. 21. ‘Introduction: Theorising Borders’. Boundaries in Question. See Agnew. p. 2001. ‘Politics as a Vocation’. 15. shape. 2003. ‘The Territorial Trap’. See Anderson. 1998. p. 1993. Neo-Conservatism and the War on Territorial Integrity’. 1992. 2000. 2001. 2000. 2001. 13. Lapid. Williams. pp. ‘Security Fences or Barriers to Peace?’. The Global Covenant. 14. 1999. Borders and Barriers’. 2003. 54. 19. 23. 4. 1998. See also Connolly. ‘The Territorial Trap’. ‘Border Studies’. Walker. ‘Borders and Identity’. ‘Editorial Note’. 2007. Brown. 7. See also Jackson. Borger. 3. Bartelson. The Terms of Political Discourse. Boundaries in Question. 6. 1999. Constructing the World Polity. Inside/outside. Linklater and MacMillan. 9. 20. Drawing on Derrida’s account of the politics of framing. 1987. 10. 17. 1995. 12 11. Connolly. 1995. 25–46. 22. ‘On Boundaries’. 316. I end on a note of caution about the way in which thinking in terms of the concept of the generalised biopolitical border runs the risk of foisting the same problematic sense of form. Agnew. ‘Territorial borders’. 5. 78. ‘Contingent Sovereignty’. See Butler. 2007. 2. however.. and Walker. ‘Introduction: Nudging IR Theory in a New Direction’. The Ethics of Territorial Borders. The Global Covenant. 2000. 2004. 2006. 1–4. p. The State in Transition. 1993. ‘Territorial borders’. Rumford. 1993. ‘The Irony of Interpretation’. Albert. 2006. 1994. p. 12. Camilleri et al. Ruggie. NOTES 1. The Critique of the State. ‘The Changing Discourses on Political Boundaries’. Precarious Life. Walker. Ó Tuathail and Dalby. 2006 and ‘Blair. Kolossov. Weber. p. 1995.12 BORDER POLITICS frame might entail new modes of practice/theory. 1948. 2003. Borders. 2001. See Elden. ‘Boundaries. p. 6–7. Political Frontiers and Boundaries. Newman. In this sense it is what William Connolly refers to as ‘onto-political’. 117.

217–18. Scholte. pp. Bigo.. ‘The Borders of Europe’. 1998. p. Community’. p. 33. 27. 1998. 1993. ‘On the Immanence/Imminence of Empire’. Ibid. 2. 29. p. Foucault. 3–10. p. Walters. p. 1999. xii. ‘International/inequality’. Mbembe. ‘The Möbius Ribbon’. 2006. 24. 2001. 1996. 2005. ‘Sovereignty. Laïdi. 1998. 2005. 1–2. 39. 36.. The Global Transformations Reader. 1999. p. 220. Foucault. Rethinking Geopolitics.Introduction 13 23. Challenging Boundaries. Writing Security. 2002. p. 45. 17. Moral Spaces. Identity. A World Without Meaning. 2008. 2006. 1991. 181. Inside/outside. 25. 2002. 13. Moral Spaces. 2005. ‘Mapping Schengenland’. Hirst and Thompson. Globalisation. 1990.. 31. Inside/outside. 2007. 49. Ó Tuathail and Dalby. pp. for example. Walker. 159. 38. pp. 135–6. 1997. p. 11–40. 1999. 2002. ‘Globalisation’. 1996. 40. Lapid. 217. pp. 159. Balibar. 2008. p. ‘Borders and Bordering’. 29. pp. 2001. Starr. 39. Held and McGrew. ‘International Borders’. 2002. 1993. 20. Shapiro. Madness and Civilisation. Ibid. pp. 50. see: Derrida. 26. ‘A Theoretical Introduction’. 30. p. 16. 34. Jacques Derrida. Brown. p. Weizman. 180. As Noel Parker puts it: ‘post-structuralism leaves in question the solidity of entities themselves’. Globalisation in Question. Z. Walker. ‘A Theoretical Introduction’. 42. Rumford. Violent Cartographies. 2001 [1959]. is ‘eager to maintain [the concept of poststructuralism] as suspect and problematic’. See: Walker. pp. p. 35. ‘Necropolitics’. 1996 and ‘The Future of Globalisation’. 167. 11. ‘The Westfailure System’. ‘Border/Control’. p. ‘Foreword’. ‘Problematization’. 37. see Parker. Carlson et al. p. 343. 47. . 2006. Campbell. 32. 46. ‘On Extraterritoriality’. 161. p. 2000. Walker frequently implies the inadequacy of the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state. 41. Strange. Coward. Newman. 28. ‘The Globalisation of Enclosure’. 2002. ‘Introduction’. ‘Foreword’. ‘Deconstruction: the Im-Possible’. National Deconstruction. 43. 105–34. ‘Introduction’. 2001. 2006. 44. 1998. p. 97. Parker. 1999. 2006. 48.

paradigmatically represented by Mercator’s map. a number of iconic images perhaps come to mind: the Berlin Wall. Moreover. that domestic and international spheres 14 . the straight lines dividing the African continent. According to this picture. and mobility is taken as almost a given. and what their motivation for travelling might be. and continue to affect. constitutes a ‘territorial trap’ underpinned by three problematical assumptions: that states have exclusive power within their territories as represented by the concept of sovereignty. he argues. On this view. especially in the West. ‘the border’ is a marker of the limits of the sovereign power of the state located at a fixed site at its geographical outer edge. Such a view corresponds with what John Agnew has famously referred to as the modern geopolitical imaginary which. economic status. When we think about borders in contemporary political life. LAW Borders between states have affected. notions of borderlessness do not make much sense at all as their movement is subject to intense scrutiny and methods of control. TERRITORY. the affects of such borders on different people do not remain static but may change according to individual and broader historical and political circumstances. such as those in South America or Africa. where they are coming from and going to. many people seem to experience what might be considered a globalised borderless world whereby entering and exiting a state is a mere formality. people’s lives in different ways according to their citizenship. In other words. But for others. Today. the United States–Mexico border. global politics is characterised by territorial borders that separate states into sovereign political entities. ethnic background and so on. different people experience border politics differently depending on who they are.Chapter 1 BORDERS ARE NOT WHAT OR WHERE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE: SECURITY.

and in many respects the concept of the border of the state appears to be undergoing spatial and temporal shifts of seismic proportions. The third points to the increasing disjuncture between territorial limits on the one hand and the limits of law on the other in the context of the detention of suspect terrorists held at the United . With this in mind I offer three illustrations of how the concept of the border of the state is being played out in unexpected directions with significant consequences for thinking about what studying borders might mean. a simple focus on the ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ of such borders is a rather unhelpful starting point for thinking about border politics to begin with. and that the borders of the state define the borders of society so that the latter is constrained by the former. The first considers how developments in global border security. For a start. Such an empirical focus is significant for the study as a whole because it establishes from the outset a need for more sophisticated conceptualisations of both the nature and location of borders and bordering practices. Irrespective of which side of the debate one might consider most convincing.2 My aim is to illustrate this seemingly paradoxical and otherwise abstract formulation by investigating emerging reconfigurations of the concept of the border of the state in current political practices. Perhaps more fundamentally still. decentre our understanding of borders. This Chapter takes as its starting point Étienne Balibar’s pithy observation that ‘borders […] are no longer at the border’. there are many current bordering practices that challenge the commonsensical image of what and where borders in global politics are supposed to be according to the modern geopolitical imaginary.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 15 are distinct. Indeed. it is a framing that is blinkered to the possibility that the concept of the border of the state might be changing in terms of both its nature and its location in contemporary political life. it distracts attention from the politics of different border experiences according to people’s varying subject positions.1 The question of whether borders between states are here to stay or about to disappear forever has preoccupied many theorists of global politics over the last fifty years or so. with specific reference to the emergence of the United Kingdom’s new border doctrine. The second analyses this decentring in relation to the territorial location of borders by looking at the recent activities of the new European Union border management agency Frontex. however.

security. Immigration and Identity Action Plan’. and third ‘within our borders […] to help prevent people already in the country using multiple identities for terrorist. this marks a continuation of.3 At the heart of Brown’s first ‘Statement on Security’ was a reliance on the notion of three lines of defence: the first located overseas ‘so that terrorist suspects can be identified and stopped before they board planes. represents a key milestone in the implementation of nascent border policy. Furthermore. with a budget of £2 billion and eight thousand officers. Labour’s policy in government. Cuba. the second to be found at the ‘main points of entry’ where biometrics are already in place and a new unified border force will be in operation. which frame the context of the rest of the book. This was followed with the publication of ‘Securing the UK . criminal or other purposes’. Gordon Brown announced a new series of measures designed to ‘increase national security and combat the threat of international terrorism’. Indeed.4 This emphasis on borders as a central tenet of emerging UK homeland security policy was further enshrined in the Borders Act. and more recently in the National Security Strategy (NSS) unveiled in March 2008. trains and boats to the United Kingdom’. In December 2006 the first in a series of documents outlining radical changes to the UK border was released: the ‘Borders. This trajectory was.16 BORDER POLITICS States’ naval base at Guantánamo Bay. subjectivity. identity. however. Taken together. the primacy of the development of UK border security can be traced to the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001. BORDERS AND SECURITY: THE UNITED KINGDOM’S ‘NEW’ BORDER DOCTRINE Within one month of his accession to the UK premiership on 27 June 2007. given added impetus in the wake of the London bombings on 7 July 2005 and subsequent thwarted bombings across Britain. power and authority. rather than a departure from. the illustrations raise fundamental questions about the interplay between borders. the establishment of the new United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) in April 2008. sovereignty. which came into force in October 2007. and in the aftermath of the attack on Glasgow airport. While Brown’s first year as Prime Minister has witnessed a feverish push towards heightened border security. of course.

6 This philosophy will not deal effectively with the step change in mobility that globalisation has brought to our country. We believe that a new doctrine is demanded. such as the contribution to gross domestic product of those working legally. staffed physical frontier. it ‘brings great opportunity’. The ‘exponential growth in global movement’ is presented as both a potentially good and bad phenomenon for the UK. security and prosperity are taken to be separate from the outset and the new UK border doctrine is tasked to keep out ‘risky’ subjects (potential fraudsters. where travellers show paper-based identity documents to pass through. it ‘creates new challenges’ including identity fraud. and the free flow of people and goods. the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office invoke what is presented as an outdated model of the border against which new plans for improved border security are outlined: The border has been traditionally understood as a single. this duality is said to necessitate an approach that balances economic prosperity with security imperatives: ‘The goal is to find the optimal relation between an appropriate degree of security. Emerging from this growing corpus of literature. which has so far received little academic attention especially when compared with the study of American homeland and border security.’ 9 In this way. criminals or terrorists) while simultaneously welcoming in profitable and trusted subjects (business people. the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and 10 Downing Street conceptualise what and where the UK border actually is. Reflecting something of a departure from the modern geopolitical imaginary. ‘bona fide’ asylum . On the other hand.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 17 Border: Our Vision and Strategy for the Future’ in March 2007 and the lengthier ‘Security in a Global Hub: Establishing the UK’s New Border Arrangements’ in November 2007.8 Therefore. tourists. the need for the development of a new UK border doctrine is partly framed in terms of the acceleration of mobility arising from conditions of globalisation. On the one hand.7 As the second of these quotations demonstrates. organised crime and international terrorism. illegal immigration.5 are several key themes that imply a shift in how the Home Office (HO). illegal immigrants.

be detrimental to the UK. the need for a new border doctrine for the UK is also framed and justified in terms of broader changes to the security environment.’ 10 Hence. without action by the state. Offshoring the border Throughout the various documents outlining the UK’s new border doctrine are numerous references to the need to ‘offshore’ bordering practices: Border control can no longer be a fixed line on a map.14 The aim is to create a new offshore line of defence to check individuals as far from the UK as possible and through each part of their journey. and pre-emption. and Glasgow are cited as factors both leading to and reflective of that intensification. Yet.18 BORDER POLITICS seekers. services. legal economic migrants): ‘The aim of border control is to sort traffic into legitimate and non-legitimate and maximise the effort directed against movements that would.12 Crucially.13 How has the UK border been transformed from a static physical frontier and in what ways does it respond specifically to the threat of terrorism? To address these questions.11 Against this backdrop. the concept of the border at work here is one that privileges permeability: a portal that depends upon – rather than prevents – the circulation of people. Although it is recognised that threats from immigration. rather than a barrier or obstacle in the physical sense. sophistication and variety’. Madrid. while minimising the burden on those that would not. it is instructive to identify three key interlinked innovations reflected in the new UK border doctrine: offshoring. Using new technologies […] we must create a new offshore line of defence. as well as increased mobility resulting from globalisation. crime and terrorism are not ‘new’.15 . the government argues that what has changed is the intensity of those threats: ‘the UK faces threats […] of an unprecedented level of virulence. Istanbul. the attacks on the World Trade Center. identity capture. Bali. enhanced border security measures are presented as the most adequate and appropriate response to international terrorism. and goods. London.

through not unique to the UK context. since 2001 the UK has taken its border to sites in Boulogne. Coquelles.17 Central to this concept is the notion that it is simply too late to wait for ‘risky’ subjects to arrive at traditional border crossings. new technologies such as carbon dioxide probes. there is quite literally an ‘exporting’ of the border so that it is physically transported to territory overseas through ‘juxtaposed controls’ whereby the UK monitors mobility in other states and vice versa. The role of ALOs. one of the main objectives of the new UKBA is to reach beyond Europe in an attempt to ‘globalise’ the UK border.20 One recent innovation in this area is the development of a global network of overseas border security advisers including Airline Liaison Officers (ALOs). of whom there are fifty-five working across thirty-two states worldwide. Dunkerque. and heat detectors have been rolled out in order to detect the illegal entry of people concealed in freight. Rather. Calais. on UK territory. fundamentally altering the way the UK operates at its border’. is to work with local intelligence and law-enforcement agencies to ‘detect and deter inadequately documented passengers’.16 19 The concept of ‘offshore’ bordering. Frethun. Lille. For example. and Paris ‘to detect and deter potential clandestine illegal immigrants before they are able to set foot on UK soil.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be We want to extend the concept of exporting our borders around the world. which involves data capture prior to travel . offshore bordering relates to other forms of control on movement that are increasingly not related to territory in any straightforward way but rather more ephemeral. In one sense. has come to underpin the Brown government’s approach to ‘security in a global hub’.19 In another sense. such as ports and airports. as well as traditional forms of border control reliant on paper documentation. Indeed. This initiative. heart-beat sensors. X-ray scanners. electronic and invisible.21 Another dimension of offshore bordering practices is the implementation of the new ‘e-Borders programme’.18 In this context. Brussels. the stated innovation of the UK’s new border doctrine is to take the border to the perceived locus of threat before ‘it’ departs in the first place. These practices enable the expansion of UK border operations beyond reciprocal ventures with fellow European Union member states.

identifying those presenting a risk and stopping them coming to the UK. The rolling out of identity capture and management systems has relied heavily upon private enterprise and investment. is a biometrically controlled automated border entry system that enables preregistered passengers to ‘proceed through automated gates at the border rather than queuing to present their passport to an officer at the control’. Whereas paper-based passports and visas allowed for identity fraud and the use of false aliases.20 BORDER POLITICS and analysis undertaken at the new Joint e-Borders Operations Centre (J-BOC). it is then possible both to cross-reference back to any previous application that might have been made and to discover any history of criminality to allow or refuse travel. Thus. they can also be used to ease the journeys of others. it is argued that new forms of biometrics ‘lock applicants into an identity at the earliest possible point in their journey. With a step change in both the intensity and scope of border security measures. ‘Project Iris’.25 Such data are defined as ‘information about external characteristics’ and can include fingerprinting and features of the iris or any part of the eye. allowing authorities to track more easily their previous and future dealings with the UK. in this way we see the double functioning of the technologies put in place intended both to hinder and to facilitate movement according to decisions about the legitimacy of the subject in transit. for example. checking them through each stage of their journey. aims to count ‘most foreign nationals’ in and out of the UK by December 2008. new business opportunities have coalesced around homeland defence thereby creating a multimillion pound industry.26 While these systems are designed primarily to deter some travellers deemed to be illegitimate.27 Again.24 By checking biometric data against Immigration and Asylum databases.22 Identity capture and management at the border At the heart of the range of measures designed to transform UK border security is risk-based identity capture and management: ‘We want […] to fix people’s identities at the earliest point practicable.’ 23 The principle of the ‘integrity of identity’ underpins new technologies put in place for risk assessment. Contracts for designing and delivering the technological infrastructure central to the government’s border transformation programme were put out for .

can be captured. the former will be based on the same principle whereby new digital identity data can be used by ‘customers’ to ‘assert their identity’ and gain access to an array of services (such as health and social security benefits). and then used in particular forms of governance. Similarly. and can therefore be read as continually evolving ‘live histories’ of the subject (see figure 1). if someone has got married.29 Whereas the latter is based on a static capture of physical identity valid for ten years and reliant upon trust. the international defence firm Thales has developed second generation digital identity technologies which are designed to supersede current paper-based documentation.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 21 Figure 1 The Thales ‘Identity Life Cycle of a Citizen’ 30 tender in 2007 and have been won by global multinational corporations such as Trusted Borders. Thales makes an analogy between its second generation digital identity solutions and mobile telephones. The life cycle of the citizen is reflected in the life cycle of the identity smartcards which automatically register changes in physical appearance. divorced or had children). On the one hand. the former provides constantly updated forms of identity capture using biometry and cryptography. The latter is a technology that can be traced and involves a potential loss of privacy but is deemed by the majority of populations to be acceptable because of the benefits it affords. Director of the group ‘Liberty’. Anticipating criticism from civil liberties campaigners such as Shami Chakrabarti. status (for example. and clearly this under- .28 For example. this view of identity presupposes that identity ‘is’ something that people possess. British Telecom and Thales. Thales argues.

Manage bottlenecks. pre-emptive bordering constitutes the first ‘ring of defence’ envisaged by the UK government. Act early. and the less it usually costs to do so. 3. airports.33 Indeed. 4. inno- .32 What does the principle and practice of ‘pre-emption’ entail in this context? The five foundations for the UK’s new border doctrine. the traditional border did not act early enough in preventing the ‘wrong’ sort of travellers to the UK: ‘it can be too late – they have achieved their goal in reaching our shores’.31 According to this vision. the greater the chance of it being successfully resolved. staffed. Moves towards a constantly updated method of identity capture. Pre-empting the arrival of ‘risky’ subjects by preventing them from embarking on their journey to the UK most obviously relates to the first of these foundations: ‘the most effective […] way of addressing risks to the UK is to identify those movements which present a threat and to stop or control them before they reach the UK’. Target activity.22 BORDER POLITICS standing permeates recent UK government literature on border security. physical frontier’ at ports.34 On this basis. such as those developed by Thales. there is a sense in which the second wave of identity technologies. Reassure and deter. as outlined in ‘Security in a Global Hub’. point towards a recognition of the need for a less static and more dynamic and contingent understanding of identity. and 5. comprise: 1. pre-emption involves gathering information and identifying risk before travel begins: ‘The earlier that risk is identified and can be acted upon. in tandem with subjects’ life cycles as depicted in figure 1. referring back to Brown’s statement on security. an alternative vision has been outlined that tackles these threats before they reach UK territory. Pre-emptive bordering practices The emphasis given to fixing identities ‘at the earliest point practicable’ through offshore bordering practices points to the emergence of a broader principle of pre-emption that also underpins the UK’s new border doctrine.’ 35 Moreover. On the other hand. 2. Maximise depth and breadth of protection. Whereas the ‘traditional border philosophy’ referred to by the government perceived threats at ‘a single. reflects an awareness of the challenges faced by the task of capturing something that does not ‘exist’ straightforwardly. and other border crossings.

it is nevertheless a form of pre-emption considered to be just as. however. such as ports and airports. are also designed to use deterrence as a form of pre-emption: ‘In addition to the opportunities to collect data and intervene. it remains unclear precisely on what grounds an individual or group will be deemed ‘risky’ under the UK’s new border doctrine.’ 36 While it is noted that such deterrence is difficult to measure. On the one hand. together with the rolling out of the new e-Borders Programme.40 Such a privileging inscribes a border that ultimately creates two zones of travel to the UK which.’ 37 Pre-emption also connects with the second of the five foundations above. As we have seen. necessarily builds nationality inextricably into the logic of inclusion and exclusion in this context. technology has enabled the rise of different thinking in government and policy-making arenas about what/where .Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 23 vations in biometric forms of data capture. assurances have been made that the level of harm posed by individuals will be determined by ‘reliable’ forms of intelligence: ‘Our ultimate vision is to use intelligence. despite statements to the contrary. the criteria upon which decisions about the legitimacy of travellers are made have not been made public and very few clues are given in the relevant policy literature. because the targeting of activity involves the prior construction of risk profiles out of ‘a single pool of information about suspect identities and risky individuals’. Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office makes frequent reference to the importance of ‘intelligence-led risk management’. there is an obvious presumption that those from inside the European Economic Area (EEA) are low-risk ‘trusted travellers’ whereas non-European Union nationals are automatically treated as high-risk targeted travellers. border controls represent an important opportunity to deter criminality. risk assessment and analysis to apply scrutiny based on individual risk rather than nationality. Indeed. if not more.38 While recent documentation from the Cabinet Office.’ 39 On the other hand. new technologies have facilitated innovations in the ways in which the UK government attempts to secure its borders both spatially and temporally. Thus. while ‘traditional’ forms of border control are still evident at conventional border sites. important than more formalised methods: ‘Border controls should therefore strike a balance between actions to improve the effectiveness behind the scenes – such as information and intelligence sharing leading to targeted activity – and actions that provide a visible presence at certain key locations.

24 BORDER POLITICS the border of the UK should be in an ‘interdependent world’. which raise significant conceptual issues to be explored in later chapters. administrative and legal autonomy. BORDERS AND TERRITORY: THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE RISE OF FRONTEX The main role of Frontex. In turn. more significantly still. tier two incorporates border and customs control focusing on surveillance. (d) To follow up on the development of research relevant for the control and surveillance of external borders.42 This pan-European model comprises three basic tiers: tier one involves the exchange of information and cooperation between member states on issues relating to immigration and repatriation.41 Recent literature outlining the new UK border doctrine emphasises that borders are not necessarily to be found at the outer edge of the state. the government’s attempts to control them. are also evident in the efforts of Frontex to secure the European Union’s borders. customs and police in non-EU states.43 The intention here is not to provide a detailed account of the . (e) To assist member states in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders. Similar dynamics. border checks and risk analysis. which was established in Warsaw in 2004 as a decentralised EU regulatory agency with financial. and tier three encompasses co-operation between border guards. Article Two of the founding Regulation outlines the principle tasks of Frontex as follows: (a) To co-ordinate operational co-operation between member states in the field of management of external borders. (f) To provide member states with the necessary support in organising joint return operations. including the establishment of common training standards. (b) To assist member states on training of national border guards. this challenges the idea that the territorial limits of the UK are somehow coterminous with the location of the UK’s borders and. (c) To carry out risk analyses. is to promote a ‘pan-European model of integrated border security’.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed the Schengen Agreement. ‘freedom’ and ‘security’ have been established as antithetical values requiring a ‘balanced’ approach. It was not until the realisation of the Amsterdam Treaty in May 1999. Belgium. This incorporation went hand in hand with the expressed aim of establishing the Union as a borderless ‘area of freedom. Denmark. Treaty of the European Union). Portugal. persons. Two years later the Single European Act (SEA) came into effect stipulating that: ‘the internal market should consist of an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods. customs and judiciary across member states via the Schengen Information System (SIS). Greece. France. Integrated border security in Europe According to the Frontex website. services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty’. and in the following six years Italy. security and justice’ (Article 2. the implications of which for immigration and asylum have been covered extensively. and it is in precisely these terms that the . Germany. that the Schengen acquis was incorporated into the first pillar of the European Union.44 In this way parallels will be drawn between the United Kingdom and European Union cases as illustrations of the increasing complexity of borders in contemporary political life. pledging to apply the free movement principle by abolishing controls within their common borders.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 25 establishment of Frontex or its areas of legal competence but rather to outline and illustrate: 1. how the recent activities of Frontex in this context challenge what and where the borders of the European Union are. Accompanying the abolition of internal borders was a series of ‘compensatory measures’.45 Thus. including closer co-operation between the police. Finland and Sweden joined the original five member states. In 1985. Austria. however. how the notion of ‘integrated border security’ has emerged as one of the European Union’s responses to the threat of international terrorism since 11 September 2001. the origins of the agency lie in the broad context of a series of moves designed to implement the principle of the free movement of people as originally provided for under Article Three of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. A Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement was drafted and signed in June 1990. Spain. and 2.

and. Moreover the ‘Revised EU Terrorism Action Plan’ of 9 March 2007 refers to the role of Frontex in conducting ‘effective risk analysis’ of Europe’s borders (Article 2. Is the border of the European Union no longer at the border? According to one news report. the development of Frontex can be located within this broad historical trajectory of the Europeanisation of member states’ borders: ‘a further institutionalisation in the ongoing process of a technocratically-driven integration project’. Many travelled (and continue to travel) on overcrowded cayucos – Senegalese fishing boats – each carrying seventy to a hundred and fifty people. the ‘Council Declaration on the EU Response to the London Bombings’ declared that ‘its immediate priority is to build on the existing strong EU framework for pursuing and investigating terrorists across borders’.26 BORDER POLITICS operation of Frontex has been framed: ‘Frontex complements and provides particular added value to the national border management systems of the member states and to the freedom and security of their citizens’. published on 25 March 2004 in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings.5) and impeding terrorists’ movement by maximising ‘the capacity of existing border systems to monitor. the role of Frontex and integrated border security has also been presented as a specific solution to the problem of the need to respond to the threat of terrorism in the European Union since 11 September 2001. Moves towards integrated border security have nevertheless complicated how the traditional separation between ‘internal’ and ‘external’ realms referred to above plays out in practice. there were 16. Similarly. On the one hand. Lists compiled by UNITED of some of those who did not make it alive into the Union are accessible by typing ‘dead refugees in fortress Europe’ . where relevant. In the ‘Declaration on Combating Terrorism’. Article Six stresses that the solidarity of the Union must go hand in hand with the need to strengthen border controls.404 documented cases of illegal immigrants arriving from Africa into Spanish territory between January and September 2006.47 On the other hand. the security imperatives of Frontex are supposedly tempered by the Union’s commitment to freedom.2).46 In this way.48 On average during this period between a hundred and four hundred Africans were attempting to enter the European Union via the Canary Islands every day. counter the movement of suspected terrorists across our internal and external borders’ (Article 3.

49 As Sergio Carrera has pointed out. missing. Portugal. . Found dead: 5/10/06 Number: 24 Name: Not known Country of origin: Maghreb Cause of death: Drowned after their rubber boat broke up trying to reach Canary Islands. was intended to ‘support the Spanish authorities in [the] identification of the migrants and [the] establishment of their countries of origin’.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 27 into Google. Germany. Italy. known as HERA I. their bodies and often ultimately deaths: Found dead: 16/12/06 Number: 126 Name: Not known Country of origin: West Africa Cause of death: Reportedly drowned. the situation in the Canaries was presented by the European Union and Spanish officials as an ‘unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the whole of Europe’. the first phase of Frontex activity in the Canary Islands reflects what might be considered to be conventional ‘borderwork’ at traditional border sites associated with the implementation of a control on movement of subjects at airports. ports and the geographical outer edges of sovereign territory.50 The institutional response to this crisis was the deployment of Frontex personnel from France. boat capsized on way from Djiffer (Senegal) to Spain.52 In this way. The ‘headline’ style makes for particularly uncomfortable reading and offers a stark illustration of the way in which border politics is not an abstract phenomenon but one that involves peoples’ experiences.51 This operation. the Netherlands. Found dead: 17/9/06 Number: 1 Name: Not known (man) Country of origin: Sub-Saharan Africa Cause of death: Died of lack of medical care in police custody after his boat landed in Los Cristianos. Norway and the UK between 17 July and 31 October.

56 Nevertheless. surveillance planes from Finland and Italy were flown along the coast and deeper into African territory in an attempt to deter would-be migrants from making the journey to the European Union in the first place. Frontex mobilised patrol boats supplied by Italy and Portugal off the West African coast near Mauritania. and Cape Verde. however. That is to say. it is perhaps more accurate to see these missions as European border performances. Carrera refers to this deterrence of movement as a form of ‘pre-border surveillance’. albeit hundreds of miles away from member states’ territory and the geographical outer edge of the Union.54 Moreover. . the territories that borders supposedly delimit are not necessarily the only territories within which borders can control movement. Frontex increasingly polices the EU’s borders by taking its bordering practices directly to the populations it deems to pose the greatest threat. This disaggregation illustrates that the relationship between borders and territory is not static but increasingly dynamic. Senegal. Cuba. Rather. HERA II brought together technical border surveillance equipment from several member states with the expressed aim of preventing ‘migrants from leaving the shores on the long sea journey’. as the pre-emptive measures in African territory illustrate. offers another illustration of the increasing complexity of the relation between borders and territory as well as a provocative case for thinking about the implications of this for law. This ‘offshoring’ of the border. as a control on the movement of subjects into or within the Union.55 In his analysis of Frontex operations in Africa. The case of America’s detention of suspected terrorists in Guantánamo Bay.53 To achieve this. complicates the straightforward notion of an alignment between the territorial limits of the Union on the one hand and the limits of its ability to attempt to control movement on the other.28 BORDER POLITICS The second phase of the Frontex operation from 11 August to 15 December departed from this orthodoxy. What is interesting about the HERA II operation is that it highlights the way in which borderwork undertaken by Frontex not only occurs at what might usually be understood to be typical ‘border’ sites. reminiscent of the UK’s new border doctrine.

according to the United Nations. cultural and religious harassment (such as using female interrogators to perform ‘lap dances’ and deliberately mishandling the Holy Koran by kicking it). approximately 520 detainees from forty different countries have been held there. independent and impartial court of law. farmers. consist mainly of: the use of stress positions (like standing) for up to four hours. the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists in Guantánamo is a ‘military and security necessity’ in the context of the global ‘War on Terror’: The law of war allows the United States – and any other country engaged in combat – to hold enemy combatants without charge or .61 According to the US Defense Department. removal of comfort items. Since its establishment.59 Moreover. forced grooming. isolation for up to thirty days.58 Other policies include: degrading treatment (such as the removal of clothing – sometimes in the presence of women). sensory deprivation.60 Under the ‘Military Order on the Detention. Treatment and Trial of Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism of 13 November 2001 (the ‘Military Order’). and thirteen-year-old children. approved by the Secretary of Defense. Legal challenges to indefinite detention Detainees in Guantánamo are held in what Amnesty International calls a ‘legal blackhole’. led to serious mental health problems: as of 13 June 2006 there have been three suicides and many more attempted suicides.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be BORDERS AND LAW: THE UNITED STATES’ NAVAL BASE IN GUANTÁNAMO BAY 29 The United States government established the detention centre at Guantánamo Bay in January 2002 to hold suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan. the uncertainty generated by the indeterminate nature of confinement has. metal roofs and permanent electric lighting. the United States government has denied most detainees the right to challenge the lawfulness of detention before a court and the right to a fair trial by a competent. Interrogation methods. including cab drivers. Detainees are housed in 8-foot by 8-foot cells with wire walls. use of individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress. and beating detainees who resist.57 A recent United Nations report on the ‘Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay’ highlights the conditions under which they are detained.

international humanitarian law treaties.65 On the issue of the scope of the United States’ obligation to international law. It serves the purpose of preventing combatants from continuing to take up arms against the United States. which has been the site of colonial struggle for almost a century. Detention is not an act of punishment but of security and military necessity. however. Seeking grounds on which the camp might be closed down. despite these findings. According to this document. the global struggle against international terrorism ‘does not. the relevant provisions under international law to which the United States is party fall under two main categories: first. After all. including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). the report of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sets out the international legal framework that its assessment of the United States’ treatment of detainees is based upon. such as the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (Third Convention) and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Convention). constitute an armed conflict for the purposes of the applicability of international humanitarian law’.66 Prima facie the applicability of the provisions of this Article could be called into question owing to the seemingly anomalous territorial and juridical status of the United States’ naval base at Guantánamo Bay. the report invokes Article Two of the ICCPR.62 As the UN report points out. as such. as far as the United Nations is concerned.64 Yet. which declares: ‘each State Party […] undertakes to respect and to ensure all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the ICCPR without distinction of any kind’. is not strictly part of US territory but has been leased from .63 Further still. Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture) and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).30 BORDER POLITICS access to counsel for the duration of the hostilities. second. human rights lawyers acting on behalf of detainees and their families continue to find it difficult to mount effective defences. detention ‘without charges or access to counsel for the duration of hostilities’ amounts to a radical departure from established principles on human rights law. a series of human rights treaties. this land. the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel.

reinforced by military capability.69 On the one hand. and attempts to maintain. the authors note the view of the Human Rights Committee that monitors the implementation of the Covenant that: ‘a State Party must respect and ensure the rights laid down in the Covenant to anyone with the power or effective control of that State Party. On the other hand. they make little sense in the case of Guantánamo Bay. the ICJ also acknowledged that the ICCPR extends to ‘acts done by a State in the exercise of its jurisdiction outside of its own territory’. the UN report concludes that the United States government has the same obligations under Human Rights law in Guantánamo Bay as it does within its own territorial borders.68 Second. has allowed for the treatment of detainees in Cuba in ways that would otherwise be considered unlawful within the traditional territorial borders of the United States. it is because of the seemingly . it might be suggested that. The folded limits of territory and law The case of the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists by the United States on Cuban territory. Indeed.70 On this basis.67 Therefore. territory and law. and for no other purpose’. and the legal arguments deployed for and against their release. Seeking to clarify the phrase ‘all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction’. are fascinating for thinking about the contemporary relationship between state borders. however.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 31 Cuba since February 1903 for ‘any and all things necessary to fit the purposes of coaling and naval stations only. Such a view. even if not situated within the territory of the state party’. the United Nations report highlights the position of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the ‘Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’. while the provisions of Article Two of the ICCPR apply in the rather more conventional context of sovereign practices within bounded territorial states. One dimension of this relationship in the context of Guantánamo is obviously the way in which the United States government has relied upon. the report refers to two recent international legal opinions that challenge this commonsensical view. First. the principle that limits in law and territory are coterminous (in other words. the ICJ recognised that the jurisdiction of states is primarily territorial. the idea that a state cannot be held legally responsible for actions that take place on another state’s territory).

THE NEED TO RETHINK WHAT AND WHERE BORDERS ARE The three examples considered demonstrate that a commonsensical picture of the concept of the border of the state as something fixed territorially at the geographical outer edge of the sovereign state is somewhat chimerical. The situation of detainees in Guantánamo Bay is therefore interesting because it indicates that the limits of territory are not necessarily coextensive with limits in law in contemporary political life. The notion that a state is obliged to uphold international standards of human wellbeing only in relation to those within its own territory is challenged by the United Nations ruling. Indeed. Such a disjuncture. In each case. this concept has been shown to shape.32 BORDER POLITICS anomalous nature of the naval base. which may also apply to the United Kingdom and European Union cases as ‘offshore’ bordering becomes an integral part of homeland security. is precisely the way in which the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has sought to erode the grounds of the United States’ position by mobilising international legal opinion that the relationship between law and territory makes no difference to states’ obligations under human rights treaties and humanitarian law. Rather. the argument put forward by the United Nations is that if states exert control over subjects beyond their territorial borders then. irrespective of the location of those subjects. Furthermore. a given state is still responsible for them under international law. the case points to a disaggregation between juridical space on the one hand and the space of the sovereign territorially delimited state on the other. however. each illustration points to interesting divergences between the limits of . with its own complicated colonial history. that detainees held indefinitely there do not have the same recourse to domestic and international law that either Cuban or American citizens enjoy. enable and constrain practices across domestic and international terrains in ways that imply a ‘thickness’ to borders that thin lines on maps do not otherwise represent. Another interesting dimension of the Guantánamo case. challenges dominant assumptions about the nature and location of authority in global politics as reflected in the norm of ‘territorial integrity’ enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

71 Taking a broad historical view. invisible and ephemeral and. . the extent to which Guantánamo Bay is an innovation is equally questionable in light of the history of the projection of American influence abroad. as an idealised picture of global politics this imaginary has had. for example. and authority on the one hand. Similarly. the attempt to striate space. Another objection might be that the bordering practices looked at here are not actually ‘new’ but rather continuations of broader historical modes of inclusion and exclusion. Such reconfiguration. significant symbolic value with important ethical and political implications as I will go on to consider in greater detail in Chapter 2. Prima facie. given the historic work of British Embassies and Consulates overseas in upholding the global visa regime. When these new forms of identity capture and management are allied with moves to ‘offshore’ borders as in the UK case. the UK government’s designation of its ‘new border doctrine’ as something ‘new’ is perhaps dubious when considered against the backdrop of colonial and imperial legacies. Moreover. Nevertheless. complicate straightforward understandings of the relationship between borders and territory. and continues to have. and the territorial limits of the sovereign state on the other hand. technological developments have enabled the proliferation of new kinds of bordering practices. irrespective of its historical accuracy. Indeed.Borders are Not What or Where They are Supposed to Be 33 security. while it would be churlish to overstate the novelty of the logic in the examples under consideration. in the context of the regulation of transnational economic activities and extension of rights to citizens overseas. together with travel advisories and foreign policy more generally. these practices are increasingly electronic. it could be argued that recent notions of ‘offshore’ bordering in the UK and EU contexts reflect much older bordering practices. This is illustrated most vividly with the development of second generation biometric ID cards that actively track the life cycle of the subject. then it is possible to see how the concept of the border of the state is in some sense being reconfigured. To some extent it might be objected that borders between states have never conformed to the commonsensical image of them associated with the modern geopolitical imaginary. while not completely de-territorialised. Nevertheless. law. create territory and produce b/ordered subjects is arguably something rather familiar to the modern geopolitical imaginary and marks more a continuation than a departure from it.

34 BORDER POLITICS which reflects Balibar’s comments about the vacillation of borders – ‘multiplied and reduced in their localisation. 2007. as outlined in the Introduction.72 First. […] no longer the shores of politics but […] the space of the political itself’ – raises two sets of questions that frame subsequent chapters of this book. 2007. the reconfiguration of the concept of the border of the state in current political practice necessitates the development of alternative border imaginaries. 1994. […] thinned out and doubled. ‘When Two Become One’. 2007. 2007. Balibar. Bigo. Walters. narratives and logics in contemporary political life. Doty. Guild. ‘The Borders of Europe’. Agnew. 2. as well as a critique of the modern geopolitical imaginary. See: Amoore. ‘Biometric Borders’. p. 5. 2006 and ‘Vigilant Visualities’. ‘Border/control’. . 4. ‘The Territorial Trap’. 3. In turn. Extant treatments of the phenomenon of integrated border management systems have tended to focus on the EU and US contexts. this begs questions such as: What resources exist to conceptualise the reconfiguration of the concept of the border of the state? What epistemological. 217. The reconfiguration of this concept radically calls into question some of the most settled and comforting assumptions. 2000. This inevitably generates a series of questions about the implications of a critique of the modern geopolitical imaginary: Is this imaginary being replaced or is it coexistent with other ways of thinking? What is at stake in the vacillation of the concept of the border of the state for ethical–political practice? How does the vacillation of this concept necessitate changes to theorisations of global politics that otherwise depend upon it? Second. the concept of the border of the state has acted and continues to act as a lodestar for diverse aspects of the practice/theory of global politics. Brown. 2005. ‘States of Exception on the Mexico–US Border’. ‘Statement on Security’. ‘Danger: Borders Under Construction’. Carrera. 2006. ‘The EU Border Management Strategy’. ontological and methodological insights are apposite to the task of rethinking what and where borders are in contemporary political life? How is it possible to radicalise and pluralise what studying borders in global politics might mean? NOTES 1. Ibid. 1998.

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6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.


18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27.



Home Office, ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007, p. 3. Ibid., p. 3 (emphasis added). Home Office, ‘Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan’, 2006, p. 7. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 28. Ibid., p. 48. Ibid., p. 5. Ibid., p. 7. Ibid., Home Office, ‘Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan’, 2006; Home Office, ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007. Home Office, ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007, p. 2. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 31. Home Office, ‘Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan’, 2006, p. 11. There are obvious parallels between the ‘offshoring’ of the UK’s border and US Homeland Security initiatives as well as the activities of the new EU border management agency, Frontex. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 38. Ibid., p. 38. Home Office, ‘Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan’, 2006, p. 11. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 38. Tom Dowdall, Director, European Operations Border Force, presentation at the ‘Homeland and Border Security 08’ conference. For further information on the ‘e-Borders Programme’, see: http://www.ukba. (accessed 9 July 2008). Home Office, ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007, p. 3. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, pp. 32–3. Ibid., p. 33. UK Borders Act, 2007, p. 10. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 42. For further information on ‘Project Iris’, see: managingborders/technology/iris/ (accessed 9 July 2008). These observations and those that follow about the relationship between border security and corporate enterprise are based on my experiences as a delegate at the conference ‘Homeland and Border Security 08: Working Together, Securing the Nation’, 3 July 2008, QEII Conference Centre, London. All references to Thales are based upon a presentation given by Paul Fenton, Denise Walker and Olivier Monsacre, entitled ‘Thales: The Identity Integrator – Assuring Identity, Protecting People’, at the ‘Homeland and Border Security 08’ conference.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.



46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61.

‘Thales: The Identity Integrator’. Home Office, ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007. Ibid., p. 3. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 9. Home Office, ‘Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan’, 2006, p. 6. Cabinet Office, ‘Security in a Global Hub’, 2007, p. 48. Ibid., p. 53. Ibid., p. 54. Ibid., p. 48. Home Office, ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007, p. 9 (emphasis added). Home Office, ‘Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan’, 2006, p. 11; ‘Securing the UK Border’, 2007, p. 5. Cabinet Office, ‘The National Security Strategy’, 2008. (accessed 6 August 2008). Frontex, ‘Council Regulation’, 2004. For more on the background to the establishment of Frontex see: Carrera, ‘The EU Border Management Strategy’, 2007; Guild, ‘Danger: borders under construction’, 2005; Jorry, ‘Construction of a European Institutional Model’, 2007. See, for example: den Boer, ‘Moving between bogus and bona fide’, 1995; Geddes, Immigration and European Integration, 2000; Huysmans, ‘Migrants as a Security Problem’, 1995; Walters, ‘Mapping Schengenland’, 2002. Frontex, ‘Annual General Report’, 2005. Neal, ‘Securitization and Risk’, p. 24. Bailey, ‘Stemming the Immigration Wave’, 2006. (accessed 6 August 2008). Carrera, ‘The EU Border Management Strategy’, 2007, p. 12. (accessed 6 August 2008). Ibid. Ibid. Bailey, ‘Stemming the Immigration Wave’, 2006. Ibid. Carrera, ‘The EU Border Management Strategy’, 2007. ‘Response of the United States of America’ 2005, p. 52. UNESCCHR, ‘Situation of Detainees in Guantanamo Bay’, 2006, p. 24. Ibid., pp. 24–5. (accessed 8 August 2008). In June 2004 the Supreme Court held that US courts have jurisdiction to consider challenges to the legality of detention of foreign nationals in Guantánamo. As the UN report highlights, however, not a single habeas

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62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72.

corpus petition has been decided on the merits by a US Federal Court. UNESCCHR, ‘Situation of Detainees in Guantánamo Bay’, 2006, p. 15. Ibid., p. 3 (emphasis added). Ibid., p. 12. Ibid., p. 13. Ibid., p. 3. Ibid., p. 4 (emphasis added). Quoted in Gregory, ‘The Black Flag’, 2006, p. 411. Human Rights Committee, ‘General Comment No. 31’, 2004. International Court of Justice, ‘Legal Consequences’, 2004. Ibid. (emphasis added). Gregory, ‘The Black Flag’, 2006, p. 407. Balibar, ‘The Borders of Europe’, 1998, p. 220.


Bordering practices that are seemingly at odds with the modern geopolitical imaginary, such as those explored in Chapter 1, demand a stocktake of what critical resources might be available for new ways of thinking about what borders are, where they come from, and what they do in contemporary political life. A first port of call for such an enquiry is the interdisciplinary subfield of border studies, known as ‘limology’, a tradition of thought encompassing the work of anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, and political scientists.1 Especially over the past three decades or so, paradoxically at a time when pronouncements of globalised borderlessness have been at their loudest, there has been a remarkable growth in border studies. Hastings Donnan and Thomas Wilson attribute this dramatic increase to defining ‘border events’ of the period, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, and the trajectory of European integration.2 Any attempt at making generalised comments about a field or subfield of study is fragile and open to dispute. Nevertheless, many writers have commented that there has traditionally been a primarily empirical focus in border studies. Moreover, of the two to three hundred land borders between states recognised over the past century, certain sites have tended to attract most attention. These include: the British/Irish border; the United States/Mexico border; the post-World War I borders of central Europe; the borders of Africa; and more recently the borders of the European Union. Scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds echo the complaint made by some IR theorists, however, as we saw in the Introduction, that the concept of the border of the state has typically lacked adequate theoretical 38

borders are increasingly theorised as portable machines of sovereign power that are inseparable from the bodies they performatively produce and sort into different categories. ‘boundary studies [have] long been one of the most torpid sub-fields […] largely oblivious to theorising about geographies of political identity and the spatialities of power’. as well as outlining such a shift. albeit one that is far from complete. when taken collectively. In other words. this advance can be usefully characterised in terms of a shift.4 For John Agnew. as I shall seek to outline. to reflect on the implications of such a move for thinking about global politics more generally. Vladimir Kolossov writes: ‘despite the accumulation of abundant information and important theoretical publications. to develop the move towards a biopolitical theorisation of borders even further. border studies have suffered from a lack of theoretical reflection’. and IR as well. Nevertheless. in this chapter I will ultimately argue that more work needs to be done in this area: first. ‘the major challenge is to develop critical approaches to understand the changing – contextual – meanings of boundaries’. For many scholars of border studies ‘the border’ is all too clearly defined as an area for study located at the geographical outer edge of the state. Consequently. critical geopolitics. On the other hand.5 On this basis. according to Anssi Paasi. the comments on the paucity of theoretical literature on borders generally are in danger of somewhat overstating the case. In many ways. Indeed. static lines on maps.6 Superficially. and. there have been notable attempts at acknowledging and offering theoretically reflective accounts of borders in global politics. second. not only in border studies but in the overlapping literature in political geography. rather than fixed.3 Similarly. the prospects for finding critical resources apposite to the task of characterising and grappling conceptually with some of the practices identified in Chapter 1 appear somewhat slim. especially over the past five to ten years or so. David Newman argues that ‘the bulk of material has been descriptive and case study oriented and has not translated into the construction of meaningful boundary/border theory’.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 39 attention. particularly in light of more recent scholarship. it is perhaps understandable why so many writers not only in IR but other related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences have pointed to a lack of theorisation of the concept of the border of the state. from the study of borders as primarily geopolitical institutions to an understanding of bordering practices as biopolitical phenomena. .

such as J.14 The growth of the subfield of border studies is tied inherently to developments in the discipline of geography. were primarily interested in the evolution and contemporary characteristics of specific land borders. such as Malcolm Anderson. pointing to the historically and culturally contingent (and ultimately somewhat arbitrary) usages of such terms. empiricist methodology and/or historical mapping. Charles Fawcett and Thomas Holdich sought to develop border typologies and classifications for the purposes of applied geopolitical strategy. mapping economic and social structures through case studies. the primary role of the boundary scholar is to study different cases because first and foremost boundaries are concrete empirical phenomena.8 As such. broadened their analysis to include flows of people. while ‘border’ denotes a narrower zone. other border scholars.12 Indeed.10 Nevertheless.13 Nevertheless. Richard Hartshorn and Ewald Banse. R. services and goods as well as the relationship between natural and social landscapes. the understanding of what and where borders are epitomises the assumptions of the modern geopolitical imaginary. have since disagreed with Prescott. Julian Minghi and Gerald Blake. On these matters. in this scholarship. V. ‘frontier’ refers to the region surrounding the boundary. is a focus on the boundary as a line that delimits state jurisdiction and territory: ‘the only function of the boundary is to mark the limits of sovereignty’. such as Jacques Ancel. the . Prescott. until the 1960s border scholarship was mainly characterised by positivist epistemology.9 By the 1960s border studies scholars. according to Prescott. their focus was almost exclusively on the collection of empirical data. Whereas.40 BORDER POLITICS LIMOLOGY: A BRIEF HISTORY AND CURRENT ‘STATE OF THE ART’ According to Vladimir Kolossov the formal study of borders emerged during the late nineteenth century. For example. Prescott argues that each term has a precise meaning and warns ‘there is no excuse for geographers using the terms “frontier” and “boundary” as synonymous’.7 Early limologists. at the heart of Prescott’s landmark texts. The Geography of Frontiers and Boundaries (1965) and Political Frontiers and Boundaries (1987). Later. in the early twentieth century.11 Moreover. Lord Curzon. Prescott largely confines theoretical discussion to the rather more prosaic matter of typologies and vocabularies: ‘boundary’ is his preferred term for the line of demarcation between states.

identifications. political geography. and the dangers of territorially determined state-centric spatial logics. Part of the critical geopolitical turn has involved a diagnosis of precisely what this imaginary consists of in the first place. signs. performances and stories’.20 In many ways the shifts from boundary to border studies. and writers such as Ted Gurr and Harvey Starr began examining the social construction of borders and their relationship to international conflict. associated with David Newman. social constructivist and post-structural perspectives in limology. cannot be divorced from the broader rise of critical geopolitics as an interface between geography. there has been a move away from boundary to border studies reflecting a shifting research focus. to which van Houtum refers.17 From the 1990s onwards the rise of post-positivist. as van Houtum has put it. no longer about where the border is but how it is socially constructed and (re)produced in terms of ‘symbols. Gearóid Ó Tuathail. although the discourse of ‘geopolitics’ is shifting and unstable. the characteristics and assumptions underpinning the modern geopolitical imaginary have been the subject of intense scrutiny in the interdisciplinary field of critical geopolitics. Over the past decade or so. one of the leading figures of critical geopolitics.16 This was followed a decade later with the application of world systems and geopolitical approaches. whom it benefits and what is at stake in an unexamined reliance upon it. the impact of globalisation and integration on borders. since the 1960s ‘the attention has moved away from the study of the evolution and changes of the territorial line to the border. more complexly understood as a site through which socio-spatial differences are communicated’.15 The 1970s saw the emergence of political geography. politics and IR. sociology and social psychology had a significant bearing on the subsequent trajectory of the subfield. philosophy. have drawn attention to the symbolic value of borders.21 Ó Tuathail problematises the modern geopolitical imaginary as a perspective that observes the .19 Hence.18 Indeed. and the impact of debates about culture and security. it is nevertheless possible to identify certain tropes and priorities underlying the common usage of the term in both practices of statecraft and the academic study of it. the work they do in various social. with an emerging focus on territorial identities. Anssi Paasi and others. pioneered by writers such as Henk van Houtum and Olivier Kramsch. emphasises that. political and economic discourses. representations.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 41 increasing influence of political science.

24 Indeed. One of the earliest articulations of such a programme can be found in an article published in 1992 by Ó Tuathail and Agnew called ‘Geopolitics and Discourse: Practical Geopolitical Reasoning in American Foreign Policy’. he argues. and four theses are advanced: first. we conquered’ mentality. however. the vision to which Ó Tuathail refers is colonial through and through.22 This eye supposedly ‘witnesses’ rather than ‘interprets’ the twodimensional field of vision it performatively produces: a geopolitical gaze that surveys the worldwide stage as if it were somehow separate.26 It is precisely this connection between knowledge and power that informs John Agnew’s critique of the ‘territorial trap’ of the modern geopolitical imaginary referred to in Chapter 1. as typified by the idealised myth of the Westphalian system.23 Despite its seemingly natural and neutral outlook. this gaze reflects ‘a deliberate construction of a perspectivist triangle of vision with the sovereign monocular eye/I at its base and the stage/spectacle/scene of history or international politics at the far wall of the triangle’.27 Such an account not only dehistoricises but implies a notion of power as monopoly of control exercised equally over anywhere within a given territory. According to Agnew the main problem of thinking about the spatiality of power in terms of blocs and territorial presence as fixed identities. . since ‘the geopolitical envisioning of the global scene is inseparable from the desire to use the displayed scene for its own purposes’. It has.25 On this basis.28 As well as problematising the modern geopolitical imaginary. is that it takes ‘the coercive power of territorial states for granted as a fixed feature of the modern world rather than seeing it as the outcome of a number of historical contingencies’. something of the ‘we came. we knew. Ó Tuathail characterises the modern geopolitical imaginary as privileging Western forms of knowledge to inform a particular type of geography that relies systematically on the forgetting of the violence and struggles that enable it to make any sense at all. critical geopolitics scholars have sought to put forward an alternative research programme.29 In this piece international politics is treated as a spectacle.42 BORDER POLITICS world as if it were a singular eye removed from the rest of the body. one that political geography has long serviced in a purportedly ‘objective’ manner for the sake of upholding modern statecraft. According to Agnew this fundamentally glosses over the fragility of such power upon which the very legitimacy of the state rests.

that practical reasoning is just as important as formal reasoning in the conduct of statecraft. he argues that. Hence. constitute a neo-liberal ideology attempting to denaturalise and limit the power of states in order to bolster the virtues of friction-free markets. glocalisation. In this context he cites the work of Simon Dalby whose article ‘Critical Geopolitics: Discourse. but to investigate the politics of the geographical specification of politics. Ó Tuathail is less interested in supporting or refuting theses about the continued presence or imminent obsolescence of state borders but rather how different discourses are implicated in various relations of power/knowledge. commonsensical spaces. the discourse of the ‘borderless world’ prevalent in the 1990s.30 Ó Tuathail refers to this formative article as the beginning of a wider ‘disorientation of (imperial) geopolitics’. that rule making and rule following are more significant in the study of statecraft than an analysis of blind state power.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 43 that the stage of statecraft is not simply a backdrop but ‘an active component of the drama of world politics’. third. for example. that such reasoning constitutes a spatialised form of practice linked to different knowledge communities. Its critique of the modern geopolitical imaginary calls into question the work that the concept of the border of the state does in upholding arrangements that benefit those who have most to gain from maintaining the status quo. Difference and Dissent’ has come to define the distinctiveness of the subfield: To construct critical political geographies is to argue that we must not limit our imagination to a study of the geography of politics within pre-given. instead of the simple . Ó Tuathail counter-argues: ‘“Borderless world” discourses are the fantasies of the few that can dream of becoming digital in a world where just being is a persistent struggle for so many.’ 33 Moreover.31 The focus on the ‘politics of the geographical specification of politics’ means that critical geopolitics is intrinsically interested in borders and bordering practices. taken-for-granted. and fourth. That is to practice critical geopolitics. post-nationalism and transnationalism. On his view. together with its related vocabulary of globalisation. second. Critical geopolitics scholars thus raise important connections between that concept and questions about violence.32 Thus. sovereignty and power which an unproblematised reliance on that imaginary otherwise ignores.

Ó Tuathail claims that new imaginaries are called for: This is not to suggest that world politics has necessarily transcended the imaginary of the territorial state but it is to admit the disintegration of its traditional mythic Euclidean forms and to acknowledge strange new (con)fusions of de-localised transnations […] 35 ASSUMING THE CONCEPT OF THE BORDER OF THE STATE The discipline of IR was born amid violent cartographic change following World War I and. as I have already noted. borders between states have often been assumed. as well as recognising that the modern geopolitical imaginary rests upon highly problematic assumptions about space and time. sovereignty. and rewiring’ of all three. of the study of the defence and transgression of borders between states. and the work that the concept of the border of the state does occupies something of a blind spot within those analyses. Further still. this concept not only provides an important ontological. as we shall see. While. make sense. perhaps even more so than other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. framework within which some of the most familiar understandings of core terms. for much of the earlier mainstream literature in IR. power and authority. such as territory. the concept of the border of the state is central to IR in terms of permitting the very notion of international relations: it allows for the conceptualisation and analysis of relations between entities that are taken to be separate from each other to begin with. rearrangement.34 On this basis. since then. especially among international historians and analysts of global security practices. it might be expected that the theoretical literature produced by the discipline of IR.36 More generally. Therefore.44 BORDER POLITICS demise of borders. but also epistemological. such resources certainly do exist. territory or even ‘the end of geography’. can provide critical resources for developing alternative ways of thinking about borders to the modern geopolitical imaginary. it is notable that. for Ó Tuathail borders are not vanishing so much as being reinscribed in different ways and at various locations in global politics. there has been a tradition.37 Thomas Biersteker refers to the way in which one of the prob- . we are witnessing the ‘restructuring. On this basis. however. echoing Balibar’s argument.

these problematical assumptions are not exclusive to Waltz but permeate the work of other neo-realists. and especially the relationship between borders.45 Each of these conjectures relies upon different configuration of the status and function of borders between states respectively: fewer activities across state borders. indeed. the former rejects the idea that the history of international politics is the history of striking sameness: ‘Other forms of universal political organization have existed in the past […]. and neo-liberals such as Robert Keohane. Nevertheless.42 Whilst Bull’s starting point seems similar to Waltz’s.41 More promise for an appreciation of the historically contingent nature of the international system.38 In this context Biersteker cites Kenneth Waltz.40 As a feature of the Westphalian system. In The Anarchical Society (1977) Bull claims that ‘the starting point of international relations is the existence of states. the concept of the border of the state is equally neglected in Waltz’s Theory despite his reliance upon it to distinguish states as separate units positioned in relation to one another within the international system to begin with. the form of the states system has been the exception rather than the rule. dominant in the 1970s and 1980s in Anglo-American IR. strict adherence to . or independent political communities each of which possesses a government and asserts sovereignty in relation to a particular segment of the human population’. in Theory of International Politics (1979). a world government. such as Robert Gilpin.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 45 lematic features of neo-realist writings. was the tendency to treat states as fundamentally similar units across time and space. as Biersteker also points out. states but not a system. can be found in the work of Hedley Bull. for whom.44 In the final part of his book Bull explores five possible alternative paths to world order: a system but not a society. the assumption of the idealised Westphalian system as a given rather than as a particular historically contingent articulation of space–time relations meant that neo-realism offered few prospects for an account of change. however. a form of medievalism.’ 43 On the contrary. territory and sovereignty. as John Gerard Ruggie noted in his 1983 review of Waltz’s book. the anarchical structure of international politics accounts for its history of ‘striking sameness’. or an entirely new arrangement ‘beyond our own imagination’. in the broad sweep of human history.39 Indeed. Bull opens up the possibility of a fundamental change to the Westphalian order: ‘it is reasonable to assume that new forms of universal political organization may be created in the future’.

47 Ultimately. depth and degree of completion: ‘the construction of state boundaries is never a finished affair. Bull tempers his remarks about possible alternative paths by concluding: The argument is an implicit defence of the state system. even if it becomes unproblematic in some cases’. the decline or absence of borders between states. Unlike Waltz and Bull. alter will . indistinct or porous territorial borders.48 He notes that borders are not natural but historically contingent phenomena that vary in breadth. Nevertheless. In Social Theory of International Politics (1999) Wendt argues that borders are required if territory is to be anything other than land. if ego begins with a gesture x this will prompt alter to ask questions like: What does this mean? How does it affect my relationship with ego? Consequently. or that it [is] dysfunctional in relation to basic human purposes. the limited degree to which Wendt takes the implications of his own insights about borders seriously is illustrated in his portrayal of exchanges between two fictitious states alter and ego.46 At the end of The Anarchical Society Bull argues that one of the reasons for the continued ‘vitality’ of the state system as he defines it is the ‘tyranny of concepts and normative principles associated with it’.46 BORDER POLITICS state borders as limits with little or no cross-border activity.50 Indeed. designed to show how ‘identities and their corresponding interests are learned and then reinforced in response to how actors are treated by significant others’. Alexander Wendt does acknowledge the concept of the border of the state as it relates to the social construction of territory. […] Despite the existence in principle of alternatives […] there [is] no clear evidence that the states system [is] in decline. however. Wendt argues that his pursuit of a sociology of the states system means that a fuller problematisation of the relationship between borders and territory is beyond the scope of his analysis: ‘an enquiry among states must take territory as in some sense given’.51 According to Wendt.49 Despite these insights. or possibly a more fundamental change in the concept of the border of the state (although Bull does not say this explicitly). it would seem that the concept of the border of the state constitutes as much of an unexamined tyrannical concept in Bull’s writing as it does in Waltz’s. despite these tantalising glimpses of thinking otherwise.

In this text.54 He diagnoses four main dimensions to frontiers: 1. indicating the limits of his own argument. which is taken to be different from other sorts of borders on account of ‘the doctrine of sovereignty and the territorial principle’ accompanying it.53 For Anderson. is Malcolm Anderson’s Frontiers: Territory and State Formation in the Modern World (1996). but actively and on-goingly [sic] constitutive of alter’s role vis-àvis ego. ACKNOWLEDGING THE CONCEPT OF THE BORDER OF THE STATE One of the most significant book-length treatments of borders between states. right or wrong. as social constructions. and 4. Yet.’ 52 Thus. states’ identities and interests are not only learned but sustained through such interactions: ‘Constructivism emphasizes that ego’s ideas about alter. If gesture x is the laying down of arms. influenced and limited by them’. Therefore. In other words. the concept of the border of the state is treated as something of a given in Social Theory: it establishes the elements of the system Wendt takes for granted as a ground on which his analysis can then proceed. as a term of discourse ‘constantly reconstituted by those human beings who are regulated. are not merely passive perceptions that exist independently of ego. frontiers are both an ‘institution and a process […] established by political decisions and regulated by legal texts’ and are central to global politics: ‘no rule-bound economic social or political life in complex societies could be organized without them’. then other outcomes may emerge. it is only through its interaction with ego that alter derives its identity and interests and vice versa. as instruments of state policy.55 On this view. frontiers . Anderson’s focus is what he calls the ‘inter-state frontier’. No attention is paid to the ways in which alter and ego are produced as separate entities through the (re)inscription of borders between them. as markers of a nation’s identity. 3.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 47 make inferences that lead to counteraction y. In this way ego and alter construct a definition of a given situation on the basis of their representations of Self and Other. For Wendt. spanning the disciplines of politics and IR. 2. Wendt ultimately assumes ego and alter to be separate entities from the outset. Wendt’s analysis of the formation of identities and interests of states depends upon the prior existence of those states as modern sovereign bordered territorial units in the same way as Waltz’s does. as constraints on governments’ control.

ultimately his analysis focuses more on the desirability of the implications of such changes rather than on how they challenge the modern geopolitical imaginary and demand alternative theorisation of borders.’ 60 Like Wendt. the importance of the concept of the border of the state is emphasised by Robert Jackson in The Global Covenant: Human Conduct in a World of States (2000): ‘We could not get very far in trying to make sense of […] issues without an underlying assumption about territorial limits of specified normative significance which mark the divisions between independent states: international boundaries. and Early Modern Europe saw the rise of the state independent of the Pope and Holy Roman Emperor. lords could owe allegiance to more than one ruler. he argues that the development of the state system in Europe went hand in hand with the emergence of the concept of sovereignty and the notion of ‘single. and other kinds will emerge after its demise’. which enables a framework for empirical border studies along the lines suggested in his own case studies of Africa. the purpose of the frontier was to ensure that the sovereign could exercise exclusive legal. administrative and social control over its population in a given territory.56 To illustrate this argument Anderson traces the development of the familiar understanding of frontiers associated with the modern geopolitical imaginary. supreme and independent’ rule over a given territory. and echoing Anderson’s method of analysis.48 BORDER POLITICS are not static and part of an immutable natural order but rather historically contingent phenomena: ‘different kinds of frontier existed before the modern state. Jackson asserts that borders between states are artificial social constructs designed to mark the furthest extent of the territorial jurisdictions of sovereign states. the United States and Europe. royal courts and ecclesiastical courts dispensed customary.61 Illustrating this point. Anderson’s historical and theoretical approach provides a rich resource for defining salient features of borders. The fall of Rome led to a period of overlapping loyalties and jurisdictions in Europe until the Middle Ages: ‘a village could depend on more than one lord. On the other hand. Jackson points to the way . however. On the one hand. statutory and church law to the same populations’. while Anderson notes ‘the increased permeability’ of frontiers as he defines them.58 Accordingly.59 In IR theory more generally.57 With the strengthening of authority came the simplification of territorial organisation. manorial courts. Although Anderson notes that competing authorities were common until 1789.

however. speaks to a deep-seated need of human identity and also in human ethics.68 A related line of argument is pursued by John Williams in his book The Ethics of Territorial Borders: Drawing Lines in the Shifting Sand (2006) which also draws on Bull as well as Hannah Arendt to argue that borders between states play an important ethical role in world politics.’ 70 On Williams’s view.62 Jackson builds on the idea of state borders as institutions.67 According to Jackson. For Williams. by focusing on the normative role they play in international life. on the other hand.69 According to Williams. such as those relating to non-intervention. the ethical significance of territorial borders derives from their ability to act as limits on violence: . Outsider groups.66 Insider groups are said to exist on the plane of independence as sovereign members of international institutions such as the United Nations. state borders are ‘ubiquitous’ and ‘embedded’ in international politics precisely because they are in some sense a necessary facet of human existence: ‘The durability and depth of sedimentation of territorial borders as fences suggest that division.63 He draws on Bull to argue that such borders are a fundamental aspect of international society: ‘The sanctity and stability of inherited boundaries is [sic] a fundamental building block of international society and a principle behind which the vast majority of sovereign states rally. the fact that not every group is satisfied with its borders should not serve to obscure the overall point that borders between states represent a generally accepted point of reference.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 49 in which. and division on a territorial basis. borders between states not only delimit the spheres of national interests and security but also define sovereign rights and duties. the study of territorial borders in IR and related disciplines has been impoverished because of an excessive empirical focus and positivist reification. Jackson argues that state borders perform a key normative role in terms of distinguishing what he calls ‘insider groups and outsider groups in international relations’.71 Moreover. historically there have been sociopolitical arrangements that did not rely upon such borders. borders between states perform a normative role by acting as ‘fences between neighbours’ in such a way that ‘tolerates diversity’ rather than stifling difference.’ 64 On this view. are those ‘residential groups which enjoy no legal existence as independent states’.65 Moreover.

’ 74 Hence.73 Therefore. has led to a particular ‘territorialist epistemology’ in IR: one that transposes the historically unique Westphalian system into a generalised model of sociospatial organisation. Williams argues. and collective identity building opens a uniquely well-situated analytical window to observe issues of . he argues that this entrenched territorialist epistemology is increasingly at odds with contemporary notions of flows and flux and so a reworking of the old coordinates is required. his argument is ultimately a defence of territorial borders in contemporary political life: ‘We need territorial borders and we should have and defend territorial borders because they are a part of the ways in which human beings confer meaning on their lives […]. ‘to remove. Orders: Re-Thinking International Relations Theory (2001). Borders. temporarily and dynamically rather than eternally and fixedly. Lapid develops what he calls an ‘analytical triad formed by the concepts of identities. Williams claims.78 In response. co-edited by Mathias Albert. limits on violence. and Yosef Lapid. Agnew and Dalby. a distinctive political community.76 As Lapid puts it. ordering. playing institutional and normative roles that help to limit and restrict the politically mute voice of violence and that allows individuals to build. which is precisely the aim of the book.’ 75 Moving away from the focus on the normative dimension of borders between states towards a wider analysis of the role that they play in the theory and practice of global politics is the volume Identities. arguing that the modern geopolitical imaginary. David Jacobson. territorial borders would mean the end of IR […] requiring a shift in the conduct of politics on the planet that is unimaginable. ‘IR scholars have come to treat territoriality as a fixed.77 Yet. political space. identified and problematised by Ó Tuathail. orders (IBO)’ upon which this reworking is based: ‘the dynamic nexus constituted by interrelated processes of bordering. borders. like Ó Tuathail. through their plurality. the international juridical– political system would not be able to ensure ‘state independence. ahistorical parameter’. the sanctity of agreement or the stability of possession’. or even to re-conceptualise. In his introduction to the book. Lapid reflects on some of the insights of the critical geopolitics literature for IR theory.72 Without state borders.50 BORDER POLITICS The role of territorial borders is in defining.

acts of bordering (i. crossing.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 51 mobility. the inscription.79 According to Lapid. border and order construction are therefore mutually self-constituting.80 For Lapid. especially the relationship between the concept of the border of the state and sovereignty. Lapid aims to ‘nudge’ IR theory away from the Westphalian territorialist epistemology towards one that can potentially monitor reconfigurations between identities and borders. Likewise. where the “moving sands” of international relations come to be variably and temporarily stabilised’. In his . Walker has offered the most sustained engagement with the problem of borders. FURTHER PROBLEMATISING THE CONCEPT OF THE BORDER OF THE STATE Over the past two decades. and change in contemporary world politics’. and ‘orders’ in terms of the international juridical– political system of modern sovereign states. Processes of identity. the work of R. and borders and orders. with the IBO model. the IBO triad consists of key concepts in current social practice that are intrinsically interrelated and therefore best defined and used in relation to one another: Processes of collective identity formation invariably involve complex bordering issues. however. so that it is only in the context of the Westphalian geopolitical imaginary that ‘identities’ are understood in terms of national states. identities and orders. fluidity. thinking through the IBO triad is intended to allow for a more dynamic approach to theorising global politics that challenges the binary between fixity (the continued presence of borders between states) and flux (the imminent obsolescence of borders between states): ‘IBO analysis […] seems promising because identities. ‘borders’ in terms of sharply drawn territorial lines between states. orders signify three vital nodes of arrestation. On this view. J.e. removal. borders. multiplication and/or diversification of borders) invariably carry momentous ramifications for political ordering at all levels of analysis. transformation.. at the intersection of IR and political theory. the IBO triad is a model that can be applied transhistorically. B.81 As such.

discipline and practice of ‘international relations’. this act of constitution. whose effects can then be read in the categories made by its achievement. Once this move is made. the theories. the notion. rather than divorced from. IR theorists simply adopt the principle of state sovereignty as a relatively straightforward starting point in the analysis of contemporary political life: Sovereignty is read as an achieved condition. but highly problematic. According to Walker. the preserve of legal scholars and constitutional experts rather than the subject of heated exchanges among social and political theorists’.82 The move Walker makes is to treat IR theory as something that is fundamentally part of.52 BORDER POLITICS introduction to Inside/outside: International Relations as Political Theory (1993). sovereignty seems to be ‘quite uninteresting. a normative aspiration already become irresistible reality. concepts and logics used in the study of global politics. can be recast as in many ways constitutive of that which it seeks to explain. he claims. such as the concept of the border of the state. At the heart of these attempted resolutions in IR theory is the historically and philosophically significant. Walker writes: Theories of international relations […] are interesting less for the substantive explanations they offer about political conditions in the modern world than as expressions of the contemporary political imagination when confronted with persistent claims about and evidence of fundamental historical and structural transformation. theories of international relations reflect ways in which we try to make sense of and/or resolve some of the mysteries of human existence and the problems they pose. global politics so that the examination of texts reveals some of the dominant assumptions underpinning the way we think about contemporary political life. defined by the presence of sovereign states and the absence of sovereign authority. the reality of the sovereign state. the inevitable destination of a road already traveled. but indeed are complicit in.85 .84 Often. are not immune from. For Walker. concept of sovereignty.83 On this basis.

they argue. is anything but straightforward. the principle of state sovereignty emerged as such an alternative somewhere between Machiavelli and Hobbes: it came to act as ‘a fundamental principle. however. and fixing limitations’. The medieval world of hierarchies and continuities gave way to a modern one of autonomies and separations. accrediting action. An alternative was required to the so-called ‘Great Chain of Being’ (the Western medieval conception of the order of the Universe characterised by strict hierarchical links to God).86 In part. the existence of an international sovereign states system permits cultural particularity (‘citizenship’) within a broader framework of universal norms of interaction (‘common human identity’). rationally deliberated. According to Ashley and Walker. given the priority of citizenship and particularity over universalist claims to a common human identity’. Yet. Walker argues that the principle of state sovereignty ‘offers both a spatial and a temporal resolution to questions about what political community can be. It embodies an historically specific account of the ethical possibility in the form of an answer to questions about the nature and location of political community. In . as he argues with Richard K. the attempt to secure the ‘presence’ of the state as a particular form of political community in the ‘absence’ of any foundations. Alongside the gradual dissolution of Christendom came the dissolution of spiritual frameworks in the face of the scientific revolution. or rather the problem of sovereignty. ‘the question of sovereignty […] is an intrinsically paradoxical problem that can never be named. Ashley.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 53 Running throughout Walker’s oeuvre. and solved’.88 Yet.89 More specifically. Walker emphasises: ‘The principle of state sovereignty did not appear out of thin air. a base on which society rests. the generalisation of the sovereign state as a particular cultural form cuts across all cultures in terms of human necessity. as a historically contingent resolution. On the other hand. the principle of state sovereignty crystallised in early modern Europe amid growing cultural crises. a fund of authority capable of endowing possibilities. is an emphasis on and a commitment to demonstrating the way in which sovereignty. ultimately it can only ever be considered ‘unstable and tentative’. a supporting structure. sovereignty relates to practices that attempt to create something out of nothing: for example. Rather.90 The principle of state sovereignty gives a double resolution to the problem of universality and particularity.’ 87 On his view. On the one hand.

lines and planes are often taken for granted as we have already seen. borders and territories’. as monopolies of power and authority. conceptions of space and time cannot be treated as some uniform background noise. Walker’s diagnosis of the relationship between sovereignty and the inside/outside problématique adds an important dimension to any attempt to examine the concept of the border of the state. It also permits notions of here and there. as abstract ontological conditions to be acknowledged and then ignored’. us and them. Moreover. in the context of the Westphalian system and modern geopolitical imaginary. The recognition that notions of inside and outside are merely ‘Cartesian coordinates that have allowed us to situate and naturalise a comfortable home for power and authority’ calls into question the politics of global space more generally.54 BORDER POLITICS other words the issue of one and many is resolved through the single formula ‘one world many states’. these demarcations provide the condition of possibility for notions of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ inside states as defined against what happens outside them: ‘between states […] the lack of community can be taken to imply the impossibility of history as progressive teleology. and thus the possibility of merely repetition and recurrence’. and planes. Following his argument. the principle of state sovereignty ‘fixes a clear demarcation between life inside and outside a centred political community’. democracy and so on to be aspired to inside the sovereign state against the backdrop of perpetual warfare and barbarism outside in the sphere of the international. Walker argues it is precisely this spatial– temporal resolution provided by the logic of ‘inside/outside’ that makes ‘international relations’ and its theories distinctive.95 Indeed. Temporally. lines. this resolution enables and depends upon a spatial demarcation between inside and outside which.93 These points. according to Walker. Spatially. can be read as the concept of the border of the state. but Walker emphasises that ‘as historical constructs.92 As such.94 Such points.91 This allows for the human aims of reason. and affirms the presence of a political community. lines and planes reflect the emergence in postRenaissance Europe of the link between the principle of state sovereignty and ‘a sense of inviolable and sharply delimited space’.96 . the problematisation of these conceptions raises the stakes as far as the importance of the concept of the border of the state is concerned. the many paradoxes and contradictions glossed over by the principle of state sovereignty can be ‘read as points. justice.

One problem that has led to the impasse in this debate is that both . once global space is reconsidered as ambiguous. Walker provides a series of important insights that offer critical resources for an analysis of the concept of the border of the state. Significantly. Connolly notes.99 Overall. Walker comments.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 55 As William E. his diagnosis of the inside/outside logic underpinning IR theory leads to a critical appreciation of the work that the concept of the border of the state does in texts that otherwise merely take it for granted. he adds to this analysis by highlighting the importance of the connection between the concept of the border of the state and sovereignty. Historically. Walker also shows what is common between discourses claiming the decline/continued importance of state borders as discussed in the Introduction to this book.’ 98 Instead of reading borders between states and the principle of state sovereignty together as a form of ‘airbrushed achievement’ Walker thus challenges us to reappraise this relationship as a ‘site of struggle’. contested and unstable. Moreover. the transition from a system of overlapping loyalties and allegiances in favour of sharp borders did not happen peacefully. ‘One has to ask how have we so easily forgotten the concrete struggles that have left their traces in the clean lines of political cartography and the codifications of international law.97 Against views that read borders between states act as ‘limits on violence’.’ 100 Therefore. Further still. authority and violence. it becomes easy to see how state borders are connected to violence in an altogether different sense (a matter to which the analysis will return in Chapter 3). both discourses rely upon the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state: ‘The imaginary of the thin line that divides our political presences and absences in spatial terms is reproduced in a political imaginary that poses a sharp temporal choice between the lasting presence or immanent absence of thin lines. the function of artificially imposed borders becomes highly dubious. As we have already seen. Hence. as well as diagnosing the logic underpinning these texts. Despite their outward dissimilarity. authors of such texts rely on the concept of the border of the state to produce the inside/outside dichotomy that frames and also enables their theorisations. Walker’s diagnosis of the logic of inside/outside offers an important starting point in the task of opening up the terms of the hackneyed debate about the simple ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ of borders between states.

Despite these observations.104 It is unlikely that the historical experience of sharp territorial borders at the edge of states […] would do much to help us understand the complexity.56 BORDER POLITICS sides work precisely within rather than question the terms of the parameters of the inside/outside model and the broader modern geopolitical imaginary. illustrating how they might elicit a more sophisticated understanding of what and where borders are. Dalby. Ó Tuathail. and Lapid. some clues about where it might be possible to find such resources and where they might lead in thinking differently about borders can be found in recent work that focuses on bordering practices in the context of the war on terror. however. inclusion and exclusion are being transformed on a global basis. Agnew.101 Walker claims that ‘ours is an age of speed and temporal accelerations’. Nevertheless. echoing Balibar. and evaluating what the implications for the practice/theory of global politics might be. Walker calls both into question throughout his work. many other writers have implied the same basic point: namely that alternative border imaginaries are needed. In addition to identifying and problematising this model and imaginary. there remains considerable work to be done in terms of identifying critical resources apposite to the task of conceptualising such imaginaries. Didier Bigo has expressed a similar dissatisfaction with current thinking about borders predicated on the inside/outside model.105 As already noted in the Introduction to this book.102 and often. Bigo argues that new forms of transnational governmentality in global . the constant mutation or the productive/destructive capacities of such boundaries.103 Neither the spatial boundaries of the territorial state nor the geographic points of the compass […] provide much help in understanding how patterns of stratification. he implies that the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state is in some sense no longer ‘adequate’ to contemporary conditions: There is little doubt that the sharp distinction between the internal and the external spaces of modern politics […] is now extraordinarily difficult to sustain.

has destabilised notions of ‘sovereignty. reminiscent of the case of the United Kingdom’s new border security doctrine and the recent activities of Frontex in Africa discussed in Chapter 1. Bigo points to the ways in which it is increasingly difficult to differentiate between the two.106 Bigo explores the increasing intertwinement between internal and external security through an analysis of policing.109 Moreover. however. state and society. within the border zone or even upstream with police collaboration in the home country of immigrants. and can be seen as attempts to re-draw a border between an inside and an outside. sovereignty and identity. Whereas formerly the realms of the police and the military had very little in common. With this in mind. but can be carried out further downstream. within the territory.’ 108 Bigo notes that traditionally security has been considered within the context of a given territory delimited by state borders but claims that the blurring of internal and external has given rise to new forms of securitisation that complicate this model: Security checks are no longer necessarily done at the border on a systematic and egalitarian basis. Bigo develops the notion of a ‘field of security’ that aims to transcend simplistic understandings of social and political space in terms of . a border different from state frontiers.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 57 politics have led to ‘the blurring [of the] distinction between the internal and the external’ which. social. which reads inside and outside as indistinguishable. internal security is projected beyond the borders of the state. [and] security’. Bigo argues that: ‘Internal security […] implies collaboration with foreign countries and dissatisfaction with clear lines or borders between inside and outside. in turn. these new forms of securitisation necessitate alternative topologies and ways of conceptualising borders. Thus. but rather to its reworking: The core of this new securitization is related to trans-national flows and to the surveillance of boundaries (physical. territory.107 On this view. This does not lead to an erasure of the inside/outside distinction. through visa-gathering systems and through readmission agreements. and of identity).

with the . and so on. Amoore shows how the United States has developed modes of pre-emptive bordering practices aimed at assessing risky subjects before they arrive at what has traditionally been considered its territorial borders. acts of profiling and containing foreigners. which involve a turn to digital technologies and the involvement of private enterprise. thus reflecting a new imagining of what and where the US border is: The management of the border cannot be understood simply as a matter of the geopolitical policing and disciplining of the movement of bodies across mapped space.110 Borrowed from Pierre Boudieu.112 On this basis. the concept of the field is used by Bigo to refer to an interconnected network of security relations that not only involves the material blurring of inside/outside but also concomitant changes in forms of knowledge. domestic/foreign. As in the UK case. Bigo argues that this ‘semantic continuum’ is used to cultivate a globalised (in)security and field of ‘unease management’ characterised by practices of exceptionalism. national/international. Rather. Illustrating many of Bigo’s insights. Louise Amoore has examined the re-articulation of the inside/outside relation in the context of emerging United States homeland security initiatives.111 In the context of the war on terror.58 BORDER POLITICS internal/external. and reflecting developments in integrated border security in the UK and EU cases referred to in the previous chapter.114 Amoore captures these developments. Bigo traces the way in which changing articulations of the relationship between inside and outside enable new forms of governance otherwise constrained by the modern geopolitical imaginary. as a mobile regulatory site through which people’s everyday lives can be made amenable to intervention and management. She refers to the establishment of the so-called ‘Smart Border Alliance’ by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2004 as a departure in the way that the United States conceptualises its borders as a form of risk management.113 Amoore traces the rise of new bordering practices designed to counter the threat of international terrorism in the United States since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 11 September 2001. it is more appropriately understood as a matter of biopolitics. and the normative imperative of mobility.

then this surely has implications for fields of study such as IR predicated upon the modern geopolitical imaginary: How does a biopolitical framework lead to different insights about the practice/theory of global politics? In what ways does this challenge some of the dominant assumptions upon which contemporary political life is conceptualised? Third. railway stations. raises a number of significant questions pertinent to the task of developing alternative border imaginaries. if such a shift has taken place. the move towards biopolitical border studies raises numerous issues regarding the added value of such an approach: What happens to the concept of the border when it is reframed biopolitically? How does a biopolitical approach reconfigure the way we think about the connection between .115 The biometric border refers to the encoding of the bodies of travellers before they move to enable the fixing of identities. or subways or city streets. airports.117 The shift towards a biopolitical horizon in contemporary bordering practices and in academic border studies. carried by mobile bodies at the very same time as it is deployed to divide bodies at international boundaries. Furthermore. and filtration into legitimate/illegitimate flows of traffic. First. though arguably far from complete in either context. how might it be possible to grasp the coexistence of the two? What kind of view of the philosophy of history even makes thinking in these terms possible? Second. Amoore argues that the biometric border is not geographically fixed but as mobile as the subjectivities it attempts to govern: The biometric border is the portable border par excellence. as Amoore has shown. the relationship between the modern geopolitical imaginary and biopolitical modes of thinking requires further fleshing out: Has the latter displaced the former or are the two coexistent? Is the nature of the ‘shift’ conceptual. classification according to perceived levels of risk. reiterating Bigo’s assessment of the interweaving of internal and external realms of security. in the office or the neighbourhood.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 59 concept of the ‘biometric border’. innovations in the way borders of political community are (re)produced and secured both spatially and temporally.116 It is ‘biopolitical’ – a term coined by Michel Foucault discussed at greater length in Chapter 3 – precisely because of this focus on the body of the population which enables. historical or both? Alternatively.

This later scholarship challenges an assumption underpinning debates about the presence/absence of state borders that the relationship between sovereignty and those borders resembles a zero-sum game whereby. then how might it be possible to (re)conceptualise borders as limits of sovereign power? Third. the theme of borders and sovereignty has also emerged as an area of the field requiring deeper examination. Williams) to claims about the violence of borders themselves (Walker. First. This implies the need for a more detailed examination of the work that borders do on the one hand and the issue of violence in/of juridical–political order on the other. in this chapter I have also suggested that there are a number of other dimensions to the current study of borders that require more theoretical work. Second. understood as a series of discourses and practices through which political authority is constituted and legitimised. especially written in the context of the so-called war on terror (Bigo. if sovereignty. the popularity of this assumption highlights a weakness in the literature that reads the principle of state sovereignty with sovereignty per se. Amoore). is untied from statist principles.60 BORDER POLITICS borders and bodies? Do bodies confront borders anymore or is it more accurate to see borders as in some sense constituted by and through bodies? How might this be conceived of and where does it take place? What critical theoretical/philosophical resources are available to think this through? More generally. the connection between the concept of the border of the state and violence has interested a number of diverse writers whose work has been surveyed. Anderson) working within the modern geopolitical imaginary viewed borders between states as markers of the limits of sovereign power located at the geographical outer edge of the state. however. has emphasised that borders are more mobile than this model implies. closely related to this series of problems is the link between borders and the limits of authority and power. As Walker has pointed out. Traditionally the state has been considered as a container within which. more recent work.118 Rather. the . Connolly). as levels of globalisation increase. Whereas earlier border studies scholars (Prescott. so sovereignty and state borders decrease. as well as highlighting the necessity of further reflection on the relationship between geopolitical and biopolitical framings. however. for example. has ranged from a view of borders as limits on violence (Jackson. The nature of this connection.

The Study of Borders in Global Politics 61 monopoly of the legitimate use of force has been theorised. Frontiers. together with Walker. pp. for example. 4. Kolossov. have all pointed out. ‘Generations and the ‘development’ of border studies’. 6. Political Frontiers. Paasi. operation and legitimation of political authority it is necessary to disaggregate sovereignty from traditional statist paradigms favoured in IR and elsewhere in the social sciences. Borders and Barriers’. p. 2005. B. 12. p. ‘Changing Discourses’. 2. 2005. Prescott. 181–2. Kolossov. 27. p. Borders. as Edkins and Pin-Fat argue in their introduction to the volume. Kolossov.119 On this basis. 1987. Newman. 36. 2005. p. 10. 1996. 3. Jenny Edkins. but rather. ‘Book Review’. 11. Political Frontiers. Prescott. Ibid. Donnan and Wilson. 13. Walker). 612. Shapiro (and other contributors including R. Rather. 9. ‘Border Studies’. Ibid. 1. seek to demonstrate that sovereign power and authority are far from dead under conditions of globalising order. it seems that more is needed to explore what happens to our understanding. 2005. ‘Border Studies’. ‘the interesting question is not whether a system or even a society of states has been replaced by an empire or by some other institutional configuration’. 2001. 10. conceptualisation and theorisation of the limits of sovereign power and authority once these concepts are disaggregated from the concept of the modern bordered territorial state. 606. p. 2005. practices relating to the exercise of authority and power are increasingly shown to overflow the territorial borders of the state. J. 80. Véronique Pin-Fat and Michael J. p. ‘what relations or grammars of power persist and how they operate’. 663. A growing critical literature has begun to address the possibility that to understand the constitution. ‘Border Studies’. 14. 2005. Ibid. NOTES 1. 1999. 7. 1996. p. . Kolossov. Yet. Bigo and Amoore. ‘Boundaries. Agnew. 8. 5. In Sovereign Lives: Power in Global Politics (2004). Anderson. 15. 137–8. as the critical geopolitics literature. ‘Border Studies’. 1987. Paasi. pp. p.

p. 46.. van Houtum. 20. Critical Geopolitics. Ibid. John Williams makes a similar point: ‘Certainly. 22. p. ‘The Geopolitics of Borders and Boundaries’. sovereignty and territory’. 247. 26. ‘State. Ibid. 30. 22.. 2002. p. 17. ‘Geopolitics and Discourse’. Dalby. 338. Anderson. 147. 28. 1983. The Anarchical Society. Ibid..62 16. 41. Critical Geopolitics. p. Ibid... p. p. 327. 42. ‘Borderless Worlds?’. 158. p. 51. Ibid. Boundaries in Question... . Linklater and MacMillan. p. p. 30.. dominant theories of international relations. Ibid. 190–204. p.. 60. 40. Ibid. Ibid.. 48. p.. 211. Ruggie. p. 37. 18. 52. 1996. 1999. 213. p. 2002 [1977]. 1992. Ibid. Ibid. 150. 24. Ó Tuathail.’ Williams. 49. Agnew. 31. 1991. Wendt. ‘Critical Geopolitics’. ‘Continuity and transformation in the world polity’. p. 274. 27. Biersteker. Geopolitics: Re-Envisioning World Politics. 53. 43. 211.. p. Ibid. 53. 2005. Frontiers. Ibid. 23. p. 45. 19. pp. 2002. 1. 1999. 44. 12–13. p. 29. BORDER POLITICS 38. Ó Tuathail and Agnew. p. 158. could not function without a reified notion of territorial borders. 35. 1995.. Ó Tuathail. p. Ethics of Territorial Borders. 2003. Ibid.. 2006. pp. 1996. Ibid. 24. 64. p. Biersteker. 275. Ibid. sovereignty and territory’. 34. 672. 21. 5. Ibid. (emphasis added).. Social Theory of International Politics. Ibid. 39. 21. 36. 1996. 25. Ibid. 29. p. 50. 32. whether neo-realism or liberal institutionalism. 33. Ó Tuathail. p. Ibid. Ibid. 8. 675. 34. 47. p. p. ‘State. Ibid. p. Bull. 61. Ibid. 54. p. Ibid. p. Ibid.

p. 318.. ‘Territorial Borders: International Ethics and Geography’. pp. 80.. Ibid. Walker. p. 375. 77. Walker. Williams. p. 86. 74. p. 6. p. 333. 333. 62. p. Inside/outside. p. Ibid. Ibid. 88. 67. 90. 319. 1. 87. 27. 70.. Ibid. 72. 17. p. 68. p. Ibid. 61. p. ‘Territorial Borders: International Ethics and Geography’. 65. p. 63.. pp. 114. 60.. 62. 62. 1993. ‘Reading dissidence/writing the discipline’. 3. 322. 39 (emphasis added). 2003. 1993.. . p. 1993. p. p. 5. toleration and the English School’. p. 1990. Lapid. 2006. Ibid. Walker.. 91. p. p. 7. 382. Ethics of Territorial Borders.The Study of Borders in Global Politics 55. 63 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 2006. 58. Ibid.. 57. 81. Ibid. 739–40.. p. 10. Williams. The Global Covenant. Inside/outside. Williams. 118–19. Williams. Ethics of Territorial Borders. 73. ‘Territorial Borders.. 62. 2006. 2002. 316. p. 89. 19. 2000. Ibid. ‘Introduction’. 66. p. p. ‘Reading dissidence/writing the discipline’.. Ibid. Ibid. Inside/outside. 69. 2001. p. Ibid... Jackson. 64. 59. Williams. 1990. Ibid. 84. Ibid. Ashley and Walker. Ashley and Walker. 82. 71. Ibid. 56. Ibid.. 178.. p. Walker. 17. Ibid.. p. p. p. 2003. 85. 83. 9. ‘After the Future’. 171. Ethics of Territorial Borders. Ibid. 2002. 76. 78. Ibid. 75. 2. 8. Williams. 79. p. p. Ibid.

. 107. Ibid. Ibid. 93. 171. territory and violence’. Walker. Community’. pp. 20. 115. p. 96. 338. 1993. p. 2002. p. 159. Ibid. p. 161.. p. Amoore. Inside/outside. 14. 338. 106. Ibid. 63. After the Globe/Before the World. 337. 172. and Walker. 22. Ibid. identity. p. 2004. p.64 92. Walker. 119. ‘Foreword’. 185. 99. 1993. 131. ‘Conclusion’. p. BORDER POLITICS 102. Walker. Walker. 178. 5. p. 12. Ibid. ‘Tocqueville. p. Ibid. p. 30. Identity.. 116.. Ibid. 118. ‘After the Future’.. 105. p. 2004. 109. 1990. Ibid. 104. p. 7. 180. p.. p. p. 98. Inside/outside. Edkins and Pin-Fat. 343. ‘Biometric borders’. Walker. ‘Sovereignty. identity. 1990. Walker. 2002. 6. Walker. Ibid. 2. 1993. After the Globe/Before the World. Walker. p. Inside/outside. Ibid. p. p. p. ‘After the Future’.. 113. 243. 100. 97. 348. 94. 2006. 95. xii. . p. 1996. Walker. 180. 101. p. 28. 173. 108.. Walker. 114. p. p. p.. 1. Walker. 2002. Walker. Walker. ‘When two become one’. see: Walker. ‘Europe is not where it is supposed to be’. 2000. 129.. 1999. p. Connolly. 10. 112. After the Globe/Before the World. ‘Introduction’. Ibid. community’. p. ‘Sovereignty. Bigo. Walker frequently implies the inadequacy of the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state. ‘Sovereignty. ‘Globalised (in)security’. 110. 159... ‘On the Immanence/Imminence of Empire’. 1990. p. Bigo. 117. p. 2000. p. community’. 103. 3. 111. 2006.

push and illustrate the limitations of the thinkers under consideration. In many ways following the broader trajectory towards biopolitical border studies. political and philosophical thinkers associated with that term. With this in mind. I examine the violent foundations of 65 . TERRITORY AND THE BORDERS OF JURIDICAL–POLITICAL ORDER: PROBLEMATISING THE LIMITS OF SOVEREIGN POWER While some inroads have certainly been made into probing the connections between the concept of the border of the state and questions about violence. sovereignty and power. within what is often referred to as ‘poststructuralist’ thought. the richness of bordering practices in contemporary political life stands in contrast to the relative poverty with which borders continue to be conceptualised and theorised. For this reason my analysis of the concept of the border of the state now turns away from the literature in IR and related disciplines to investigate the prospects for gathering critical resources from elsewhere. especially as border studies has shifted in its focus from geopolitics to biopolitics. as this and subsequent chapters will show. Indeed. Drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida. despite the diverse and heterogeneous nature of poststructuralism. as well as the concept of the border itself more generally. the analysis aims both to highlight the insights of post-structuralism for thinking about border politics as well as using this theme to encounter. The discussion begins by further problematising the relationship between borders and violence. it is possible to identify a common interest concerning border problématiques in a general sense throughout a range of critical social. I will suggest that there is a wealth of hitherto underexploited resources for problematising the concept of the border of the state.Chapter 3 VIOLENCE.

Some promise for pushing Schmitt’s insights further are to be found in the work of Michel Foucault whose influential account of power. challenges the idea of the bordered state as a container of sovereign power and authority. William Connolly points to the rather more Janus-faced character of borders when he argues that ‘boundaries form indispensable protections against violation and violence. if highly problematical. I argue that the prospects for thinking beyond the modern geopolitical imaginary. The earlier work of Carl Schmitt on sovereignty falls prey to the same criticism although an alternative frame is implied in one of his later texts. Ultimately. that Benjamin and Derrida to some extent still take the modern sovereign territorially bordered state as the tacit ground upon which their analyses proceed.66 BORDER POLITICS the juridical–political order and the work that borders do in upholding such violence. Connolly refers to the etymology of the concept of territory as deriving from the Latin root terrere. to territorialise is ‘to establish boundaries around [territory] by warning other people off’. WALTER BENJAMIN AND JACQUES DERRIDA: CARTOGRAPHIES OF VIOLENCE Complicating the view that borders between states are harmless ‘fences between neighbours’ that serve to delimit violence.4 This etymological connection between territory and violence is also made by Barry Hindess: ‘While terror may sometimes pose a threat to the territorial order of state. demand an even more radical problematisation of the limits of sovereign power than the above thinkers can offer on their own. the possibility that territory and terror derive from the same Latin root suggests that it might also be an integral part of this order’s functioning.2 Connolly suggests that territory can be thought of as ‘land occupied and bounded by violence’. however. underpinned by the concept of the border of the state and a conventional inside/ outside logic.’ 5 For Hindess. Moreover. model of the spatiality of sovereign power. but the divisions they sustain also carry cruelty and violence’. I suggest. Foucault’s work provides much of the inspiration for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s book Empire [2000] which attempts an alternative.1 On the latter. which means to frighten or to terrorise. terror and territory are intrinsically linked not just because . and more specifically what he calls ‘bio-power’.3 On this view. however.

8 More specifically. Benjamin considers the relationship between law and violence. Benjamin analyses the foundations of justifications for the use of certain forms of violence and the designation of such violence as ‘legitimate’. more than in any other legal act. Thus. violence crowned by fate. because the latter knows itself to be infinitely remote from conditions in which fate might imperiously have shown itself in such a sentence. the law reaffirms itself. […] For in the exercise of violence over life and death. the threat of violence is also imminent to those who do belong through the regulation of conduct using fear. echoing Walker in the previous chapter. emphasise a deep connection between borders and violence that is not only etymological but historical. Benjamin’s analysis refers to a separation between law-making violence on the one hand (the origin of the law is .7 Thus. that over life and death. above all to a finer sensibility. occurs in the legal system. structural and colonial. Indeed. authority and law. But in this very violence something rotten in the law is revealed. This connection is taken further and. Benjamin argues: For if violence. in an extended passage. when there are disputes over the government of a population that are under the jurisdiction of another state. His hypothesis is that the interest of law in having a monopoly of violence over a population within a given territory is not simply to preserve legal ends but rather to preserve the very foundational structure of the juridical–political order of the state itself. the territorial order of states often fails to domesticate terror: when states do not have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. In his essay ‘Critique of Violence’ [1921].Violence. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 67 territorial impulses imply violence to those who are deemed not to belong. Connolly and Hindess.6 Indeed. is related to territory. the origins of the law jut manifestly and fearsomely into existence. as Hindess reminds us. when terror is used as an instrument of policy by a state against its own or other states’ populations. in the work of Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida. it is precisely the assumed distinction between what counts as legitimate and illegitimate violence that he seeks to interrogate overall. is the origin of the law. then it may be readily supposed that where the highest violence.9 As this passage indicates.

Derrida explains the former type of violence (law-making or ‘originary’ violence) in terms of the attempt of the authority behind the law to establish itself by a ‘pure performative act that does not have to answer to or before anyone’.16 These moments. he argues. Derrida calls the moments when the authority of a new law tries to establish itself the épokhè: a Greek word.14 The latter type of violence (law-preserving or ‘secondary’ violence) works to secure originary violence in order to conserve. as I will go on to suggest. According to Connolly.10 The police.68 BORDER POLITICS violent) and law-preserving violence on the other (the law reaffirms itself through the exercise of violence). Derrida engages with Benjamin’s text to offer a deconstructive critique of the interrelationships between the law and justice. […] [a] nowhere-tangible. According to Benjamin. and violence and authorisations of authority and mystery. In ‘Force of Law: the Mystical Foundations of Authority’ [1992]. meaning pause.15 Because the origin of the authority behind the law cannot rest upon anything but itself. the key point Benjamin emphasises is that these interrelated forms of violence are inextricably implicated through the problematic of law. this argument has provided an important point of departure for a number of critical twentieth-century thinkers who have sought to theorise the ways in which violence is bound up in the juridical–political order of the modern sovereign territorial state and state system. often intervene where there is no clear legal situation and as such their power can be thought of as ‘formless. Derrida invokes and elucidates the Benjaminian distinction between lawmaking and law-preserving violence to claim that the law rests on non-law through these two types of violence. both types of violence merge in a ‘spectral mixture’ in the authority of the police: police violence is both law-making because ‘its characteristic function is not the promulgation of laws but the assertion of legal claims for any decree’ and law-preserving ‘because it is at the disposal of these ends’. is instructive for any attempt to interrogate the relationship between borders and violence. however. it is understood by Derrida to be a violence without a ground: a state of suspense beyond the conventional opposition between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’.13 At first. is that given by Jacques Derrida. all pervasive.11 Nevertheless. ghostly presence in the life of civilised states’.12 One of these engagements which. authority. maintain and insure the ‘permanence and enforceability of law’. are said to be ‘terrifying moments’ because of the . supposing that they may be isolated.

19 Elsewhere. Derrida argues that no matter how distant it may feel.18 For each revolution to be successful in the founding of a new authority behind law it is necessary for that authority to create ‘après coup what it was destined in advance to produce. than there is a purely preserving violence.17 On this basis. however. in an important section. Preservation in turn refounds.20 These interpretive models and imperatives to forget are all bound up in what Derrida calls a ‘discourse of self-legitimation’. one only has to look at revolutionary situations with their accompanying discourses throughout the twentieth century to get a sense for the way in which the recourse to violence is always justified ‘by alleging the founding.23 While Derrida takes his lead from Benjamin. Derrida claims: ‘successful unifications or foundations only ever succeed in making one forget that there never was a natural unity or a prior foundation’. the argument presented in ‘Force of Law’ is that the oppositions set up in the ‘Critique of Violence’ between law-making and law-preserving violence do not hold in the final analysis. […] Consequently.22 According to Derrida. in progress or to come. Derrida writes: The very violence of the foundation or positing of the law must envelop the violence of the preservation of the law and cannot break with it. of a new law’. preservable. there is no more pure foundation or pure position of law. Positing is already an iterability.Violence. and so a pure founding violence. It belongs to the structure of fundamental violence in that it calls for the repetition itself and founds what ought to be preserved. proper interpretive models to give sense [and] legitimacy to the violence it has produced’. the crimes. promised to heritage and to tradition. so that it can preserve what it . Thus. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 69 ‘sufferings.21 The justification for the violent origins of the foundation of authority behind the juridical–political order of every state can only ever be justified retrospectively. the tortures that rarely fail to accompany them’. ‘the foundation of all states occurs in a situation that we can call revolutionary’. Derrida claims that this conclusion is reached implicitly within Benjamin’s own text in his discussion of the police referred to earlier: it is precisely because the police are everywhere that the separation between law-making and law-preserving violence becomes indiscernible. namely. to partaking. a call for self-serving repetition. A foundation is a promise.

thereby blurring the very distinction Benjamin’s analysis upholds. Derrida cites the case of a Kurdish man. Derrida’s usage of the concept of ‘the police’ not only refers to uniformed officers as such but also to something far more spectral: The police are present or represented everywhere there is force of law. who become all pervasive and elusive’. borders between states can be said to represent traces of the violent foundations of the juridical– political order they supposedly delimit: scars in the territorial landscape that act as reminders of ‘the sufferings. they are everywhere even where they are not. […] The police become hallucinatory […] because they haunt everything.27 Yet. They are present […] wherever there is preservation of the social order.26 The case of the Kurdish refugee highlights the way in which the police can be said to undertake to make the law instead of merely applying it. To do as Walker suggests and treat state borders as ‘sites of struggle’ is to politicise the way we think about them: not only as merely ‘socially constructed’ phenomena but the outcome of violent encounters.25 For Derrida such cases indicate not only the irreducible gap between the law and justice but also the undesirable consequences of ‘police without borders […] without indeterminable limit. Moreover. the tortures’ that rarely fail to accompany the founding of states as distinct entities.24 Illustrating the point that it is impossible to maintain a ‘rigorous opposition between positing and preserving violence’. to remember the épokhè. the crimes.70 BORDER POLITICS claims to found. with all the paradoxes this may lead to. Thus there can be no rigorous opposition between positing and preserving. On this reading.28 Derrida’s engagement with Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’ opens up a series of insights into the connection between the borders. territory. law triad on the one hand. only what I call a differential contamination between the two. the ‘anxiety-ridden moment of . He had been granted asylum by a French tribunal in 1999 and was living legally in Paris but was deported to Turkey by the Gendarmerie when he failed to produce his papers on the street. and violence on the other. ‘Force of Law’ permits a reading of borders between states as spatial instantiations of the épokhè or moments when the authority of a new law establishes itself.

33 Benjamin and Derrida. Shapiro has highlighted.29 In short.30 The memory of the épokhè is potentially revolutionary: state borders may serve to uphold the status quo but. founding violence. The state is afraid of fundamental. on the other hand. there is a locus of possibility at the heart of the concept of the border of the state. revelations of such contingency are obviously not in the interests of the state. however. paradoxically. the state abdicates responsibility for the traumas of the structural violence underpinning its juridical–political authority by forgetting that they ever existed. that is violence able to justify. Hindess and Walker earlier. to legitimate. is part and parcel of the discourse of retrospective self-legitimisation referred to earlier. After all. even on the grand scale of the Mafia or heavy drug traffic […]. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 71 suspense [or] interval of spacing in which […] revolutions take place’. Crucially.32 The mystique with which the state cloaks itself. is also to remember the ‘deconstructibility’ of the foundations upon which juridical–political orders rest. or to transform the relations of law. Hence. readily displayed at royal or civic ceremonies. and act politically. On this view. Derrida writes: What the state fears (the state being law in its greatest force) is not so much crime or brigandage. As Michael J. urge a teasing out of this structural violence so that it might be interrogated politically.31 This is precisely because they provide grounds for challenging the status quo. enact change. there is a sense in which more critical work is necessary to untie an . they are equally a reminder of the ability to challenge authority.Violence. the authority of the state relies upon practices of forgetting the memory of the épokhè which threatens to reveal the radical contingency of the juridical–political order. While Benjamin and Derrida’s analyses of the violence of the foundation and reproduction of the juridical–political order deepen some of the insights of Connolly. it is to remember Walker’s axiom that ‘once upon a time things were not as they are now’. the border of the state can be considered a product of the violent attempts to establish authority in the lack thereof. Hence. To recognise this locus of possibility is to remember the possibility of politics and therefore the potential for alternative forms of political arrangements. following the Benjamin–Derrida line of argument.

TERRITORY.34 On Schmitt’s view.’ 35 Indeed. 116. such a decision involves two steps: first the decision that an emergency actually exists beyond the scope and provisions of the . 124 and 153. Thus. and violence on the other. 115. 118. Both Benjamin and Derrida take the juridical–political order of the modern sovereign territorially bordered state precisely as the ground for thinking about the borders. the next section investigates the thought of Carl Schmitt and in particular his later work on spatial structures and order. To this end he may wholly or partially suspend the fundamental rights established in Articles 114. violence and authority from an assumed correlation between fixed territorial and juridical limits. the essence of sovereignty is understood to be a monopoly on the ability to decide on the exception: ‘For a legal order to make sense. for Schmitt. as we have already seen in Chapter 1. According to this text: If security and public order are seriously disturbed or threatened in the German Reich. under emergency situations there are often no norms or principles on the basis of which a response may be formulated. the president of the Reich may take the measures necessary to re-establish security and public order. for example. one of the interesting aspects of the legal arguments mobilised by the United Nations in response to the position of detainees in Guantánamo is precisely the problematisation of the dominant inside/outside framing of this relationship. 117. 123. In search of an alternative frame. with the help of the armed forces if required. Yet.72 BORDER POLITICS interrogation of the relation between borders. and he is sovereign who definitely decides whether this normal situation actually exists. CARL SCHMITT: SOVEREIGNTY. LIMITS German legal theorist Carl Schmitt wrote his influential book Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty [1922] against the backdrop of successive governments’ almost continuous use of emergency powers under Article 48 of the Weimar constitution. a normal situation must exist. A decision has to be made in order to close the gap between existing codes of practice and any given situation. territory and law triad on the one hand.

since the sovereign who is outside the law declares that there is nothing outside the law.Violence. The strangeness of this situation stems in part from a blurring of the normal lines between the legal and the political within the day-to-day operation of the juridical–political order of the sovereign state. according to the inside/outside model. a void. located. he who makes a double decision on the exception. Such a situation characterised most of the Weimar era. and second the decision about what can be done to remedy the situation. The characterisation of state borders as exceptional territory perhaps clarifies why border sites between states are sometimes spoken about in quasi-mythical terms: a noman’s-land. save one or two periods of relative ‘normality’ between 1925 and 1929. Paradoxically. at the geographical outer edge of the sovereign state. but nevertheless an integral part of that juridical–political territory (in fact. According to this formula. he nevertheless belongs to it. What is perhaps more striking about Schmitt’s book. Schmitt refers to the strange situation arising from the suspension of existing legal norms and practices in this way as the ‘state of exception’.37 This characterisation also resonates with images of . Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 73 existing legal order. however. a zone of anomie devoid of law and excluded from the normal juridical–political territory of the state. borders between states can be seen to be simultaneously exceptional territory. It is through this analysis of the figure of the sovereign that Schmitt’s formula recognises that the operation of the juridical order is actually grounded in the realm of the non-juridical. One way of thinking about this exceptional territory is to interpret it as precisely the site of state borders. The sovereign. Following Schmitt’s treatment of the logic of norm/exception. a place of nothingness neither strictly inside nor outside the state. is the realisation that the state of exception seems to provide the condition of possibility for the ‘normal’ operation of the juridical–political order as such. the very condition of its possibility). as well as the entire twelve-year duration of the Third Reich.’ 36 At once the sovereign both belongs to and stands above or outside that order in his capacity to decide when the constitution no longer applies. has an unusual relationship to the juridical–political order: ‘Although he stands outside the normally valid legal system. the law is outside itself. it can be said that to define the ‘normal’ territory of the juridical–political order some notion of ‘exceptional’ territory is required. for it is he who must decide whether the constitution needs to be suspended in its entirety.

[…] Thus. state actions at the border are a special case of law. stateless. the government. Schmitt presupposes the modern territorially bordered sovereign state as the basic ground for analysing this relation. or in a particular regime as a whole.40 The result of this privileging is that Schmitt reads the notion of juridical–political order as something that is synonymous with the . borders between states mark a threshold between the inside and the outside. internal or external. alien. as Hidemi Suganami notes. Schmitt’s paradigmatic treatment of sovereignty as the decision on exception enables some interesting claims about the relationship between borders. Schmitt is unclear about whether sovereignty resides in the person of the head of state. we are left in little doubt that his analysis privileges the state as the supreme sovereign political entity.38 Salter sees state borders as the space where exceptional decisions are made: ‘the sovereign decides the political status of the individual as they cross the frontier: national. when it judges it necessary to do so. While. Indeed. practices and rules (such as passport control. the state. As such there is a certain nakedness about the territory occupied by borders between states where the violent and extra-legal foundations of the state are revealed.74 BORDER POLITICS state borders as sites of exceptional measures. and also seems to read territorial and juridical limits as congruent. Suganami writes: In short. it can also be argued that exceptional activities associated with state border sites reveal the realm of the non-juridical as the ultimate ground of the normal juridical order of the state. this point has been recently illustrated by Mark Salter’s discussion of the global visa regime in which he comments on the paradoxical situation at borders between states where ‘one may claim no rights but is still subject to the law’. Hence. This decision is absolute. where these distinctions become impossible to maintain. Understood as exceptional territorial sites. foreigner. however. body searches and a sense of ‘lawlessness’). is the supreme authority in the sense of the authoritative-entity-in-decisive-cases that makes decisions to resort to war against its enemy.’ 39 Following Salter. when it functions and qualifies as a sovereign political entity. the normal situation and an exceptional situation. Like Benjamin and Derrida. refugee. territory and law.

42 In German. his later work on the spatial consciousness of law is suggestive of the possibility of developing an alternative frame without the state at its centre. is to ‘understand the normative order of the earth’. nemein translates as nehmen which is linked to the verbs teilen (to divide or distribute) and weiden (to pasture).43 Schmitt explores planetary division and order in the light of these three dimensions: the appropriation of land (nehmen). if Michel Foucault wanted to shift the focus from the ‘who’ to the ‘how’ of power. then Schmitt’s reformulation was from the ‘who’ to the ‘where’ of law. management and usage of that taken land (weiden). it is also the form of political. the division and distribution of the appropriated land (teilen). Nevertheless. and form constitute a spatially concrete unity. order. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 75 state. as the Guantánamo example in Chapter 1 illustrates. practices in contemporary political life call this framing into question. Here. social and religious order determined by this process. territory and law based on his understanding of sovereignty in Political Theology remains already caught within a conventional inside/outside rendering of that relation. On this basis.46 For this reason Schmitt uses the concept of nomos to grasp the geographically situated nature of law: ‘it creates . despite the limitations of Schmitt’s analysis as developed in Political Theology. The stated aim of Schmitt’s later book The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum.45 Dean explains that.44 For Mitchell Dean the emphasis Schmitt gave to nomos can be understood as a corrective to strands of thought within jurisprudence that fail to consider how land appropriation is constitutive of law and the spatial character of the socio-economic and legal order. written in Berlin during World War II and first published in 1950. nomos can be understood as the visible form of a social and political order derived from the measure and division of pasture: Nomos is the measure by which the land in a particular order is divided and situated. In this way. measure. and the utilisation.41 Schmitt’s argument develops around the central concept of nomos: a derivation of the Greek word nemein meaning ‘to take or appropriate’. the limits of territory and the limits in law appear coextensive and yet. there is a sense in which an interrogation of the relation between borders.Violence. On this reading.

his conclusion to Nomos of the Earth points to three possible futures: the complete unity of the world resulting from the victory of either East or West. An approach predicated upon this assumption considers borders to be fixed and located at the outer edge of the state as markers of the limits of sovereign authority. division and management of the earth from the Middle Ages through the Jus Publicum Europaeum to the Cold War is a highly contestable grand narrative. division and utilisation of the earth extended through protectorates. Nevertheless. the attempt to retain a balanced structure between East and West. Respublica Christiana constituted the first nomos. made sense . separates backyards and defines households’.47 Schmitt argues that there has always been some kind of nomos or spatial consciousness of the earth: history consists of land appropriation. a spatial order characterised by divisions between the soils of the medieval West. according to Schmitt’s historical narrative. discoveries of vast new spaces and the appropriation of uncultivated land conditioned the possibility of the emergence of a second nomos: an international law based upon centralised. According to Schmitt: The core of the nomos lay in the division of European soil into state territories with firm borders. marks places. in the sixteenth century. the soil of heathens and the soil of Islamic empires. Later. is said to have come to an end following World War II which ushered in a new planetary division between East and West. however. Schmitt’s account of the appropriation.76 BORDER POLITICS territory. division and cultivation. spatially self-contained states in Europe. The Eurocentric nomos. leases. which immediately initiated an important distinction. trade agreements and spheres of interests. defines locality. or the combination of several independent entities (grossraume) constituting a new order and orientation of the earth. Although this nomos characterised the period in which Schmitt was writing. namely that this soil of recognized European states and their land had a special status in international law. Such an assumption. and culminated in the division of Africa.48 European appropriation. what is interesting about the argument of Nomos of the Earth is the way it ultimately seems to question an earlier assumption Schmitt makes in Political Theology: namely that limits in territory and law are necessarily coterminous.

Schmitt offers a tantalising glimpse of an alternative way of thinking about the relationship between borders.Violence. under. As an illustration of this trend. in political theory that has still to be done’. energies. however. by arguing that the changing economic trends of the nineteenth century meant the demise of state borders as sharp delimitations of sovereignty and neat containers of order and orientation: ‘over. and so on are gradually and materially constituted as subjects. contra Schmitt. MICHEL FOUCAULT: THE ‘HOW’ OF POWER In Power/knowledge Foucault argues that ‘we need to cut off the king’s head. on the other hand.50 Overall. matters. for Foucault. territory and law but this is ultimately left undeveloped in his work. forces. its political. thoughts. power in global politics is not something that can be approached as if ‘it’ were a possession ‘divided between those who have it and hold it exclusively and those who do not have it and are . Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 77 in the context of the division of European soil into state territories during the sixteenth century.49 Schmitt connects the declining importance of the concept of the border of the state with the development of modern technology and the advent of a new technical-industrial-economic order. non-state. on the one hand. the United States is spatially delimited but. desires. Schmitt points out that. that power and authority cannot be profitably analysed as if it were a top-down phenomenon ‘dispensed’ by the sovereign: Rather than asking ourselves what the sovereign looks like from on high we should be trying to discover how multiple bodies. Schmitt seems to problematise the concept of the border of the state as a frame for understanding the relationship between sovereignty and territory in favour of thinking more in terms of ‘magnetic power fields of human energy and work’. or the subject. and beside the state-political borders of what appeared to be a purely political international law between states spread a free. legal and economic reach has far surpassed these spatial delimitations.e. On this basis. territory and law.51 By this he suggests.52 Thus. Schmitt challenges this inside/outside framing of the relationship between borders. i. sphere of economy permeating everything: a global economy’.

extended. their own techniques and tactics. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason [1967] and The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences [1970]. Foucault moves from a discussion of the emergence of what he calls .’ 59 Because. different forms of power have affected the body differently.54 In other words. The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception [1963]. abrupt interruptions. the forces at work in history are not ‘controlled by destiny’. for example. and so on by increasingly general mechanisms and forms of overall domination. In the course of lectures published as Society Must Be Defended [1975–76]. he has studied what he calls the ‘how’ of power by looking at relations of power through an analysis of asylums. and must. who ‘does not pretend to go back in time to restore an unbroken continuity that operates beyond the dispersion of forgotten things’. is […] situated within the articulation of the body and history. are not works of history in the conventional sense. the relationship between history. Its task is to explore a body totally imprinted by history and the process of history’s destruction of the body. an analysis of power should not begin with a central source such as the sovereign.58 Rather. be studied only by looking at the interplay between the terms of the relationship’. That is to say. historically. as he goes on to explain. madness. used. inflected. Genealogy. and the play of surfaces’. displaced. prisons.55 While Foucault has not devoted an entire text solely to the concept of power. and then look at how these mechanisms of power […] have been and are invested.56 The histories Foucault wrote in. Foucault argues that ‘power is never anything more than a relationship that can. following late seventeenth-/early eighteenthcentury French historian Henri de Boulainvilliers. for Foucault. power and the body is dynamic in an important sense.57 In his essay ‘Nietzsche. sexuality and policing in their historical contexts. such an analysis of the relationship between the body and history is a study of relations of power. their own trajectory. however. transformed. ‘genealogy.60 Yet. but rather … its infinitesimal mechanisms. as an analysis of descent.78 BORDER POLITICS subject to it’. which have their own history. and History’ Foucault describes his later work as that of the genealogist. on Foucault’s view. colonized.53 Instead. but transgressive analyses of ‘accidents.

Foucault discerns the rise of a secondary technology of power. we have at the end of that century. to man-as-living-being […] to man-asspecies’.67 With the emergence of the population as a political subject.62 This new type of power relation relied on a ‘closely meshed grid of material coercions’ involving almost constant surveillance. has a massifying. Foucault refers to the way in which the biological features of the human species became the target for political strategy. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 79 ‘disciplinary power’ in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (the analysis of power relations focusing on individual bodies and. surveillance techniques) to an examination of the emergence of what he calls ‘bio-power’ in the latter half of the eighteenth century (the exploration of power relations in the more expansive context of populations. a form of power he refers to as ‘bio-power’. completely new instruments.Violence. as Western societies came to accept the human being as a species. which is ‘applied not to man-asbody but to the living man.65 This type of power. however. is therefore not a sovereign power as such but a form of ‘disciplinary power’ in the sense that it attempts to render visible the spatial distribution of bodies for control over them. the concept of life and living beings). Foucault argues that this method becomes increasingly unable to capture emergent practices in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.61 While the sovereign/subject relationship was perhaps an adequate means of analysing power relations in feudal societies. Disciplinary power structures space by enclosing and hierarchically arranging elements within it: ‘the first action of discipline is in fact to circumscribe a space in which its power and the mechanisms of its power will function fully and without limit’. different forms of power relations emerged that entailed ‘very specific procedures. new techniques of governance were enabled. the emergence of something that is no longer an anatomo-politics of the human body. At this time. effect: After the anatomo-politics of the human body established in the course of the eighteenth century. according to Foucault.63 Such a power.66 By the term ‘biopolitics’. for example. and very different equipment’.68 Foucault sees the rise of this new technology of power alongside increases in birth and . but what I would call a ‘biopolitics’ of the human race.64 Towards the mid-eighteenth century. as opposed to an individualising.

by contrast biopower is said to be centrifugally oriented in favour of expansion. Foucault’s understanding of the mechanisms of biopolitical security is one that no longer focuses on the ‘safety (sûreté) of the Prince and his territory’ but rather the ‘security (sécurité ) of the population and. sifting the good and the bad.’ 75 Yet. In classical theories of sovereignty.80 BORDER POLITICS mortality rates and the use of statistics about longevity as objects of statistical measurement by the first demographers. constantly moving around.73 There is an imbalance: ‘sovereign power’s effect on life is exercised only when the sovereign can kill’. however. Foucault notes a paradox relating to this right. and above all. concentrates and is essentially protectionist. Foucault presents disciplinary power and biopower as complimentary. insofar as they are living beings’. or human beings insofar as they are a species. the decision over the right of life and death is one of the basic attributes associated with the figure of the sovereign. these developments gave rise to new biopolitical fields of public hygiene.74 On this basis. insurance schemes and other mechanisms to ‘control relations between the human race. […] It is the right to take life or let live. but in such a way that the inherent dangers of this circulation are canceled out. ‘the very essence of the right of life and death is actually the right to kill: it is at the moment when the sovereign can kill that he exercises his right over life.71 Nevertheless. modify it to some extent. embedding itself in existing disciplinary techniques’. integrate it. with the advent of the emergence of biopower as a secondary technology of . but allowing circulations to take place.69 Whereas disciplinary power isolates. Concomitantly. of controlling them.72 Foucault reaches some interesting conclusions when these trends are considered against the backdrop of sovereignty.70 Therefore. ensuring that things are always in movement. use it by sort of infiltrating it. including Schmitt’s as advanced in Political Theology. The latter did not eclipse the former: ‘it does dovetail into it. continually going from one point to another. circulation and movement: We see the emergence of a completely different problem that is no longer that of fixing and demarcating the territory. those who govern it’. consequently. because the sovereign cannot grant life in the same way that he can sentence a person to death.

whereas sovereignty formerly involved the decision over life. capillaries. in an interview about the implications of his work for the discipline of geography in 1976. Thus. attitudes. Foucault’s reconfigured treatment of power is not in terms of something that can be ‘possessed’.’ 80 Thus. he also calls into question the idea that that space or territory can somehow be bordered or easily separated into distinct areas. actions. continuous. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 81 power. Yet. is what defines territory: ‘Not only can the exercise of power only be performed in a certain space. or kept in a container such as the modern sovereign territorially bordered state. the concept of the border of the state is challenged as a frame for thinking about the limits of power and authority from a Foucauldian perspective.78 As we have already seen. discourses. while the territory of the juridical–political order of the state undoubtedly constitutes space within which power relations may be identified and analysed.76 In other words. On the other hand.79 On the one hand. Foucault argues that a new right emerged: ‘the power to “make” live and “let” die’. bodies. not by training individuals. learning processes and everyday lives. Foucault does not disaggregate his analysis of power relations from concepts of space or territory as such. the fact that power relations ‘necessarily extend beyond the limits of the state’ does not mean that Foucault seeks to ‘in any way minimize the importance and effectiveness of state power’. reflecting Agnew and Connolly earlier. but it is the presence of power that defines a territory – territory is what is controlled by a certain type of power. Foucault argues that power always requires space and this. such power relations always exceed the space/territory that state borders are said to delimit according to the conventional inside/outside model. biopolitical technology an optimisation of human life as a state of life. Foucault points to the ways in which relations of power always ‘necessarily extend beyond the limits of the state’. not for its disciplining as such but for its regularisation: a ‘technology which aims to achieve a sort of homeostasis. Foucault seeks to understand precisely . but by achieving an overall equilibrium that protects the security of the whole from internal dangers’. but rather as something that circulates through networks. as the quotation suggests.82 On the contrary.81 In other words. as Foucault wryly remarks.Violence. In this way. we have become so good at keeping people alive that biologically they should have died years ago. Foucault sees in the emergence of scientific.77 Thus.

automatic mechanism.82 BORDER POLITICS how this works. From the point of view of the inside/ outside model. static. a way of doing things. The state is a practice. passes through much finer channels. not as something essentially defined by its territory but rather as a series of practices: We cannot speak of the state-thing as if it was a being developing on the basis of itself and imposing itself on individuals as if by a spontaneous. and Walker earlier. upon a prior (and particular) understanding of power as something that is somehow fixed. locatable and containable within the territorial demesne of the state. and a way too of relating to government. Edkins and Pin-Fat. This framing itself relies. One attempt at outlining what this could look like. can be found in the recent work of Hardt and Negri. then different border imaginaries are required to characterise the way in which the limits of power and authority in global politics do not coincide with the geographical outer edges of the modern sovereign state. and is much more ambiguous. since each individual has at his disposal a certain power. this approach to power accompanies a broader shift in how we view the state. The state is inseparable from the set of practices by which the state actually becomes a way of governing. and for that very reason can also act as the vehicle for transmitting a wider power. however. power in its exercise goes much further.83 Further still.84 Therefore. the concept of the border of the state frames power in the manner suggested by Agnew. . and what a Foucauldian-inspired perspective could mean for thinking differently about borders in global politics. Foucault has significant implications for any attempt at interrogating the link between the concept of the border of the state and power in world politics. but argues that approaching power as if it were somehow centred and delimited would not assist him in this task: In reality. Once Foucault’s alternative view of power is adopted.

the ‘contemporary global order can no longer be understood adequately in terms of imperialism as it was practiced by the modern powers’. in which the export of capital has acquired profound importance. imperialism was not a policy or ideology pursued by Western forces as Nikolai Bukharin had argued in Imperialism and World Economy [1915].87 As a ‘single logic of rule’. as Rudolf Hilferding had suggested in Finance Capital: A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development [1910].88 Second. the concept of empire is ‘characterised fundamentally by a lack of boundaries: Empire’s rule has no limits’. Lenin argued that imperialism could be understood only as a specific stage of capitalism: Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established. in Lenin’s view. in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed. it has somewhat lost its purchase on global politics today. According to Hardt and Negri. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order MICHAEL HARDT AND ANTONIO NEGRI: THE SMOOTH SPACE OF EMPIRE 83 In Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism [1916] Lenin attempted to unite the world’s proletariat against the imperialist forces of the West. empire must be understood as a completely new concept within the lexicon of discussions of global politics.85 The motivating hypothesis of Hardt and Negri’s Empire [2000] is that. According to Lenin.Violence. Rather. major capitalist co-operations. This is not to be confused with imperialism. Rather. in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun. was imperialism simply the rule of financial capital.86 Whereas the imperialist order was ‘primarily based on the sovereignty of the nation-state extended over foreign territory’ a new form of sovereignty is said to have emerged: a ‘network power’ that includes nation-states but also ‘supranational institutions. In the preface to Empire. while Lenin’s theory of imperialism as decaying capitalism was relevant to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Hardt and Negri summarise their understanding and usage of the concept. Hardt and Negri argue that this nascent global order is best summed up by the concept of empire. and other powers’. empire attempts to fix the . Neither. First and foremost.

95 Imperialism consisted of the exporting of these characteristics beyond . the task of empire ‘is not simply to resist these processes but to reorganise them and redirect them toward new ends’. Rather. committed to peace. hence the nation-state has less and less power to regulate these flows and impose its authority over the economy. composed of a series of national and supranational organisms united under a single logic of rule. Perpetual policing constitutes a deferment of the problems and contradictions inherent to empire’s rule: hence its borderlessness and timelessness. the central argument advanced in Empire is that: ‘Sovereignty has taken a new form. whereby people. Empire does not merely adopt populations then to subjugate them but actively produces the world it inhabits through technologies of power.94 The characteristics of this order included the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force. and goods – move with increasing ease across national boundaries.’ 93 At the heart of the old imperialist paradigm. territory and authority were bound together through the figure of the sovereign.84 BORDER POLITICS current state of affairs by suspending history in order to extend the longevity of its reign: it is ‘a regime with no temporal boundaries and in this sense outside of history or at the end of history’. the ability to mint money.91 On the one hand. a singular structuring of the means of communication and an ‘absolute process of territorialisation’. nevertheless. the object of the rule of empire is nothing short of social life in its entirety. people. On this basis. This new global form of sovereignty is what we call Empire. but.90 Fourth.92 On the other hand. according to Negri. they deny that the decline in sovereignty of the nation-state has led to the decline of sovereignty per se. empire is ‘bathed in blood’.89 In other words. empire presents the status quo as the immutable end product of historical development: the pinnacle of progress outside or beyond time. the paradigmatic form of biopower as understood by Foucault. technology. was a ‘powerful specification of sovereignty’. Hardt and Negri accept the hypothesis commonly associated with globalisation theory that the growth of economic and cultural exchanges has led to the partial decline of the nation-state: The primary factors of production and exchange – money. Third.

. the concept of the border of the state was indispensable to the imperialist project: ‘Wherever modern sovereignty took root.Violence. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 85 the confines of the nation-state through the occupation of zones of the world and the exploitation of those to whom sovereignty had been denied. institutions (such as the United Nations). both to police the purity of its own identity and to exclude all that was other. the function of the concept of the border of the state was to ‘delimit the centre of power from which rule was exerted over external foreign territories through a system of channels and barriers that alternately facilitated and obstructed flows of production and circulation’. the importance of the concept of the state was gradually codified in international law (the jus gentium).’ 97 Moreover. a space that is unified. Negri argues.96 As such. and norms (for example the ‘territorial integrity’ of states). it constructed a Leviathan that overarched its social domain and imposed hierarchical territorial boundaries. with occasionally a few variously striated zones. it is possible to detect a shift away from some of the key assumptions of the modern geopolitical imagination underpinned by Euclidean geometry and the concept of the border of the state.98 Underpinning the new scenario are: the development of nuclear technologies (where the notion of the ‘monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force’ no longer makes any sense). that there is currently an ‘earthquake’ shaking this old paradigm of sovereign order ‘in its most intimate aspect: the relation to space’.101 In this way. Accordingly. however. a space that is invested by a continuous circulatory movement. and the dissolution of the substance of sovereign prerogatives into the airwaves. it is said to have become undefinable to the extent that: We find ourselves looking at a space which is smooth. fulfilling the ends of imperialism.100 Indeed. ‘money’ and ‘the ether’ respectively) is that the space of politics is said to have become ‘increasingly undefinable’. within which one can occasionally perceive resistances. the construction of a world market (where national monies lose their own autonomy associated with sovereignty). and periodically identifiable by the hierarchies which run through it. the key implication of these new characteristics (referred to in shorthand as ‘the bomb’.99 In Negri’s view.

In their view.’ 106 On this basis. a ‘universal suburb characterised by variations of speed’. expanding frontiers’. Rather.86 BORDER POLITICS Crucially. Hardt and Negri’s use of the concept of empire can be read as a substitution for the concept of the border of the state and as a challenge to the inside/outside model it conditions. In this way.105 Whereas modern sovereignty has typically been conceived of in terms of a real or imagined territory and the relation of this territory to its outside. second and third worlds. that is. as some globalisation theorists suggest. the external order of nature.104 derives from what they see as a particular historical transformation: ‘in the passage from modern to postmodern and from imperialism to Empire there is progressively less distinction between inside and outside’.103 On this basis.107 In other words. Rather.102 While the former imperialist system operated by and within spatial and temporal delimitations associated with the discourse of first. what Hardt and Negri refer to as empire ‘is a decentred and de-territorialising apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open.108 Empire is not threatened by difference or hybridity. the decline of borders between states results from the continuous attempt of empire to overcome the former limits of imperial sovereign rule. empire rules precisely through ‘a kind of . Theoretically. the concept of empire is defined precisely by the increasing absence of territorial limits to sovereign power. ‘the distinct national colours of the imperialist map of the world have [now] merged and blended in the imperial global rainbow’. the new imperial order has rendered obsolete the distinction between civil order or interior space and the external spaces of nature: ‘We have no nature in the sense that these forces and phenomena are no longer understood as outside. as Michael Hardt has explained. the creation of an open space. ‘there is no more outside’ only an inside: ‘in this smooth space of Empire. they are not seen as original and independent of the artifice of the civil order. According to Hardt and Negri. the ‘earthquake’ to which Negri refers does not imply a lessening or dilution of the sway of sovereign power. Hardt and Negri claim to achieve this reframing through their historical reading of the abandonment of the inside/ outside dialectic. Hardt and Negri claim that the inside/outside dialectic has been abandoned in favour of a ‘play of differences and intensities. there is no place of power – it is both everywhere and nowhere’. of hybridity and artificiality’.

on the other.109 On this basis.112 Third. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 87 politics of difference. but rather pulls them within its pacific order. not stifled.114 It is in this sense that Hardt and Negri claim that the politics of space has changed dramatically under conditions of empire. antagonisms within the workforce along racial lines are not so much a hindrance for empire as a motor for better production. The new form of sovereign rule is said to depend upon the blurring of inside and outside to create subjects that are amenable to its sway. the abandonment of the inside/outside dialectic resolves a crucial tension between the creation and maintenance of fixed borders among territories. ‘it takes what it is given and works with it’. and the operation of capital on a plane of immanence that has no respect for such borders.113 It is through social institutions such as the factory. With boundaries or differences suppressed or set aside.115 For Hardt and Negri. Hardt and Negri argue that they now merge to form the fabric of social and political life: ‘the limited space of the institutions has broken down […]’ and consequently ‘[…] the logic that once functioned within the institutional walls now spreads across the entire social terrain’. like a powerful vortex. the school and the army that subjectivities are produced and managed by empire. however. they argue: . managing hybrid identities in flexible hierarchies’. the Empire is a kind of smooth space across which subjectivities glide without substantial resistance or conflict. empire does not seek to exclude in the same way that the inside/outside model of political community has historically presupposed: […] Empire does not fortify its boundaries to push others away.Violence. Although imperial rule does not seek to create differences. because divisions of this nature facilitate rather than hamper control: ‘the imperial “solution” will not be to negate or attenuate these differences. cultural differences are celebrated under empire. Whereas these institutions were formerly separated from each other under the old imperialist order. populations and social functions under the old imperialist paradigm of sovereign order.116 On this basis.111 Second. but rather to affirm them in an effective apparatus of control’. Hardt and Negri argue that imperial sovereign rule has a triple imperative: ‘Incorporate! […] Differentiate! […] Manage!’ 110 First. the home. on the one hand.

which creates a situation of permanent social danger and requires the powerful apparatuses of the society of control to ensure separation and guarantee the new management of social space. the notion of territorial borders at the geographical outer edge of the state within which it was formerly assumed that sovereignty was exercised. On this basis. On the contrary. Thus. in many ways.88 BORDER POLITICS ‘What has changed is that. apparatuses. in Foucauldian terms.’ 119 Whereas imperialism is said to have been a ‘machine of global striation. coding.120 This smooth space does not entail the disappearance of social inequalities or other segmentations.’ 117 As such. produces a ‘smoothing over’ of the spatiality of empire: ‘The establishment of a global society of control that smooths over the striae of national boundaries goes hand in hand with the realisation of the world market and the real subsumption of global society under capital.121 As noted already. the immanent production of subjectivity in a society of control now corresponds with the logic of capital so that the tension above is resolved to the benefit of imperial rule: we get ‘a new and more complete compatibility between sovereignty and capital’.e. and territorializing the flows of capital’. these powerful apparatuses of the society of control are no longer through the disciplinary modalities of the state but rather through the modalities of biopower. they extend beyond. Hardt and Negri argue that. blocking. empire is defined by ‘uncoded and deterritorialised flows’.118 As we have seen. Empire arguably assists in the task of rethinking the character of power in contemporary global politics. mechanisms. along with the collapse of the institutions. however. channeling. and thereby render increasingly meaningless. not as some- . but in a different form. the passage to a society of control has not led to the end of disciplinary society but rather to the accentuation and generalisation of its immanent aspects. Hardt and Negri claim that the changing logic of sovereignty. methods of deployment) have become less limited and bounded spatially in the social field. together with the abandonment of the inside/outside dialectic. the old coordinates of north and south and centre and periphery no longer make much sense because empire is characterised by: [T]he close proximity of extremely unequal populations. these have been exacerbated under empire. the disciplinary motifs (i. As such. On the one hand.

Hardt and Negri write: ‘the concept of Empire is characterised fundamentally by a lack of boundaries: Empire’s rule has no limits’. means that empire perpetually overcomes its own territorial limits which. the extent to which Hardt and Negri offer a genuinely alternative border imaginary to the inside/outside model is called into question. it is possible to see how the concept of the border of the state creeps back into the text as the Other against which their fundamental argument about ‘smooth space’ is determined. despite seemingly offering an alternative conceptualisation of global politics to the modern geopolitical imaginary.Violence. as Mark Laffey and Jutta Weldes have pointed out. the concept of the border of the state remains pivotal to the claims they want to make about global politics.124 The changing logic of sovereignty. On the contrary. In a similar vein to Laffey and Weldes’s critique. it is precisely the ‘absence’ of them that now characterises contemporary political life. the key characteristics of Empire – the changing logic of sovereignty. Laffey and Weldes conclude: ‘the Other against which Empire is defined is. but it is this very exclusion that animates the argument of the book throughout. there is a sense in which. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 89 thing contained within the state but rather more dispersed in global politics along the lines suggested by Foucault. On the other hand.122 On Laffey and Weldes’s view. in short. ‘in other ways [Hardt and Negri] too remain stuck up a Westphalian blind alley’.123 Laffey and Weldes’s argument. Hardt and Negri argue that. so their argument goes. in turn. Simply because Hardt and Negri argue that state borders are no longer relevant to the new logic of imperial rule does not mean that Empire is not dependent upon the concept of the border of the state. in their preface. that Hardt and Negri rely upon the sovereignty narrative in order to define what empire is not. Empire begins by excluding the importance of the concept of the border of the state. In this way. the abandonment of the inside/ outside dialectic and the production of a smooth space – have a dependence (albeit in a negative sense) on the very sovereignty narrative Hardt and Negri purport to overcome. modern territorial sovereignty’. progressively collapses the inside/outside dialectic resulting in a crisis of political space. however. opens up a related line of critique concerning the work that the concept of the border of the state does in Empire as a whole. On this basis. . however. while the ‘presence’ of state borders once defined the old imperialist order. Thus.

126 In Walker’s view. the former claim is ‘more or less plausible though difficult to articulate with much coherence’. the central thesis of Empire is an old thesis. focusing on two main theoretical concerns with their argument as a whole.128 Having recognised sovereignty as a problem.129 Thus. Hardt and Negri’s analysis relies upon ‘a double reading of the history of modernity as a specific revolution and counterrevolution’. J. however. the effect of this binary allows Hardt and Negri then to claim that ‘there is no more outside’ but. Walker opens up a second.90 BORDER POLITICS R.130 For Walker. that there has been a shift from a specifically modern articulation of relations of identity and difference associated with a territorially bounded space to a different kind of order.132 Moreover. Second. in which ‘immanence’ is pitted as ‘a revolution against transcendence and sovereignty as a counterrevolution against immanence’. according to Walker.127 Walker notes that the key difference between this literature and Hardt and Negri’s text is the way in which the latter do not argue for a decline in so much as a change in the logic of sovereignty. for Hardt and Negri. albeit related. line of critique of the theoretical/philosophical assumptions underpinning Hardt and Negri’s Empire. Hardt and Negri then undermine this recognition by arguing for the existence of a new form of sovereign power conceptualised as empire. he argues. the latter is itself reliant upon a prior ‘claim about the radical immanence of modernity’ which reflects the ‘familiar story about capitalism eventually incorporating the entire world and thereby undermining the logic of a pluralistic states system’. Walker argues that ‘as with so many other texts.133 Hardt . sovereignty is considered to be an ongoing problem in contemporary political life. a version of history as modernisation is deployed to solve problems identified in a reading of modernity as history’.131 As far as Walker is concerned. while the latter can be considered as ‘an overdetermined interpretation’ of the former. this actually conflates two claims: first.125 First. On this basis. for Walker. In Walker’s view. Walker reiterates the need to view sovereignty precisely as a continuing problem rather than as an achieved condition as implied by Hardt and Negri. and second. B. that this different kind of order is radically immanent with no outside or Others but merely techniques of control. Hardt and Negri’s overall argument is reminiscent of the literature that identified potentialities for new forms of political arrangements in the context of a perceived decline in sovereignty at the height of the Cold War. this signals that.

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and Negri argue that there is no more outside but this move does not displace the inside/outside model: this model is precisely the condition of possibility for bringing everything inside in an immanentist way. Hence, Walker argues: One can no more move inside an inside/outside problem than move outside of it. In any case, such a move would involve a reversion to a notion of an inside separate from an outside that much of Hardt and Negri’s historical commentary on sovereignty and imperialism effectively undermines.134 Thus, for Walker, Empire is ‘at once a creative and provocative intervention into debates about the character and possibility of contemporary political life as well as a source of considerable irritation and disappointment’.135 Walker’s discussion above highlights the way in which Hardt and Negri’s claim that the smooth space of empire has resulted from the abandonment of the inside/outside dichotomy is not strictly correct. It is not that the inside/outside model has been entirely abandoned but rather that borders between states have been overcome through the bringing in of everything to the inside. As Walker shows, however, the move inside inside/outside leads only to a reproduction of the inside/ outside model. Therefore, in this way, Hardt and Negri’s discourse shares another similarity with the discourse of globalisation theory: both discourses seem to privilege immanentism over transcendentalism so that the decline of borders between states is not so much an empirical observation but a teleological outcome of a particular version of philosophy of history. Thus, to offer an alternative theorisation of global politics to the conventional inside/outside model and the modern geopolitical imaginary it reflects, a different genealogical account of the problem of sovereignty is required without borderlessness between states as its telos. With this task in mind, Chapter 4 investigates the work of Giorgio Agamben who develops Foucault’s analysis of the biopolitical structures of the West in different directions from Hardt and Negri.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.


Connolly, The Ethos of Pluralization, 1995, p. 163. Ibid., p. xxii. Ibid. Ibid. Hindess, ‘Terrortory’, 2006, p. 244. Ibid. Ibid. Benjamin, ‘Critique of Violence’, 2004 [1921]. Ibid., p. 242 (emphasis added). Ibid., p. 243. Ibid. Connolly, ‘The Complexity of Sovereignty’, 2004, p. 24. Derrida, ‘Force of Law’, 1992. Ibid., p. 36. Ibid., p. 31. Ibid., p. 36. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Derrida, Negotiations, 2002, p. 115. Derrida, ‘Force of Law’, 1992, p. 36. Derrida, Negotiations, 2002, p. 115. Derrida, ‘Force of Law’, 1992, p. 35. Ibid., p. 35 (emphasis added). Derrida, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness, 2002, pp. 13–14. Ibid., p. 14. Ibid. Derrida, ‘Force of Law’, 2002 [1992], pp. 278–80 (emphasis added). Derrida, ‘Force of Law’, 1992, p. 20. Walker, Inside/outside, 1993, p. 179. Shapiro, ‘Risky businesses’, 2005, p. 9. Derrida, ‘Force of Law’, 1992. Edkins, Trauma and the Memory of Politics, 2003. Quoted in Agamben, State of Exception, 2005, p. 14. Schmitt, Political Theology, 2005 [1922], p. 13. Ibid., p. 7. Bennington, ‘Frontiers: of literature and philosophy’, 1996. Salter , ‘The global visa regime’, 2006, p. 169. Ibid., pp. 171–2. Suganami, ‘Understanding Sovereignty’, 2007, p. 517.

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41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80.


Schmitt, Nomos of the Earth, 2003 [1950], p. 39. Ibid., p. 67. Ibid., pp. 344–5. Ibid., p. 70. Dean, ‘A Political Mythology of World Order’, 2006. Ibid. Ibid., p. 7. Schmitt, Political Theology, 2005, p. 148. Ibid., p. 235. Ibid., p. 30. Foucault, Power/knowledge, 1980, p. 121. Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, 2003, p. 28. Ibid., p. 29. Ibid., p. 168. Ibid., p. 30. Fontana and Bertoni, ‘Situating the lectures’, 2003, p. 274. Banchard, ‘Introduction’, 1977, p. 17. Foucault, ‘Nietzsche, genealogy, history’, 1977, p. 146. Ibid., p. 148. Ibid., p. 155. Fontana and Bertoni, ‘Situating the lectures’, 2003, p. 273. Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, 2003, p. 35. Foucault, Power/knowledge, 1980, p. 39. Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 2004, p. 45. Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, pp. 242–3. Ibid., p. 243. Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 2004, p. 1. Ibid., p. 42. Ibid., p. 245. Ibid., p. 65. Ibid. Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, 2003, p. 242. Ibid., p. 240. Ibid. Ibid., pp. 240–1. Ibid., p. 241. Ibid., p. 249. Ibid., p. 248. Foucault, Power/knowledge, 1980, p. 39. Foucault, ‘Questions to Michel Foucault on Geography’, 1980, p. 116; ‘Questions on Geography’, Power/knowledge, 1980, p. 68. 81. Foucault, Power/knowledge, 1980, p. 122.

82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122.


Ibid., p. 72. Ibid. Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 2004, p. 277. Lenin quoted in Abu-Manneh, ‘The illusions of Empire’, 2003, p. 162. Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 2004, p. xi. Ibid., p. xi. Hardt and Negri, Empire, 2000, xiv. Ibid. Ibid., p. xv. Ibid. Ibid., p. xi. Ibid., p. xii. Negri, ‘The Crisis of Political Space’, 2003, p. 190. Ibid., p. 191. Hardt and Negri, Empire, 2000, p. xii. Ibid. Negri, ‘The Crisis of Political Space’, 2003, p. 191. Ibid., pp. 192–5. Ibid., p. 195. Ibid. Hardt and Negri, Empire, 2000, p. xii. Ibid., p. xiii. Negri, ‘The Crisis of Political Space’, 2003, p. 195. Hardt and Negri, Empire, 2000, p. 187. Ibid. Ibid., p. 188. Ibid., p. 190. Hardt and Dumm, ‘Sovereignty, Multitudes, Absolute Democracy’, 2004, p. 172. Hardt and Negri, Empire, 2000, pp. 198–200. Ibid., p. 198. Ibid., p. 199. Ibid., p. 200. Ibid., p. 196. Ibid. Ibid., p. 187. Ibid., p. 330. Ibid., p. 331. Ibid., p. 332. Ibid., p. 332–3. Ibid., pp. 336–7. Laffey and Weldes, ‘Representing the International’, 2004, p. 127.

. xiv. 124.. ‘On the Immanence/imminence of Empire’. Ibid.. 337. Hardt and Negri. 125. p.. 130. 341. 2000. 344. Empire. 128. 342–3. 131. 126. p. pp. Ibid. 2002. 134. 132. 135. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. p.. 127. p. 95 . 343. Ibid. Ibid. 129. 343–4. Ibid. pp. Territory and the Borders of Juridical–Political Order 123..Violence. p. 129. p. 133. p. 341. Ibid. Ibid.. Walker.

building on the thought of Walter Benjamin. 3 migration and patterns of global movement. the importance of what he calls ‘a logic of the field’ and. and related disciplines dealing with questions of: sovereign power. Means Without End: Notes on Politics [2000]. as articulated in Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life [1998]. together with secondary appropriations of such ideas. Agamben’s work has been taken up by a range of writers in politics. Building upon this distinctive reading. The discussion begins with a detailed exegesis of some of Agamben’s key arguments. 2 trauma. have not gone without criticism. 5 and debates about the rule of law and sovereign exceptionalism. Michel Foucault and Carl Schmitt discussed in Chapter 3. By now. violence and resistance in the context of the ‘War on Terror’.7 Several departures will be made from current interpretations of Agamben’s work. State of Exception [2005] and several key essays and interviews. in respect of his central concept of ‘bare life’. perhaps most importantly. 1 practices associated with security as the new paradigm of global governance.Chapter 4 THE GENERALISED BIOPOLITICAL BORDER: SECURITY AS THE NORMAL TECHNIQUE OF GOVERNMENT In this chapter I will argue that there are potentially useful critical resources for developing alternative border imaginaries to the conventional inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state to be found in the work of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. the implications of his oeuvre for an understanding of political space.6 Agamben’s treatment of sovereignty and the generalisation of exceptional practices associated with it. IR. time and practices of memorialisation. 4 the politics of humanitarianism and human rights. I will argue that Agamben’s reconceptualisation of the way we think about the limits 96 . however.

two terms were used in its place: zoe (the biological fact of life) ¯ and bios (political or qualified life). however. Nevertheless. Agamben argues that these insights concerning the relationship between politics and life have largely been assumed rather than interrogated within political thought.9 Agamben notes that Aristotle’s opposition between the biological fact of life and qualified life and his distinction between private and public spheres have had a lasting impact on the political tradition of the West. one important exception is the work of Michel Foucault. At certain points in Homo Sacer it seems as though Agamben agrees fully with Foucault’s historical schematisation. biopolitics calls into question the idea of life itself: ‘modern man is an animal whose politics calls his existence as a living being into ¯ question’. In The History of Sexuality. For Agamben. Agamben has critiqued the dominant treatment of the relationship between politics and life in political philosophy. At the heart of Aristotle’s conception of the state is the distinction between ‘natural life’ and the ‘good life’. LIFE. this treatment has been shaped by the thought of the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Rather. Foucault argues that.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 97 of sovereign power leads to what I call the concept of the ‘generalised biopolitical border’. Volume 1: The Will to Power [1976] Foucault refers to the process by which biological life (zoe ) has become ¯ included within the modalities of state power (bios) as the transition from politics to biopolitics. POLITICS. in the . which challenges many assumptions of the modern geopolitical imaginary. For example. the term biopolitics is used to describe the emergence during the seventeenth century of attempts to govern whole populations through the institutionalisation of medicine. AND SOVEREIGN POWER Over the past two decades. he claims. the use of vaccinations and other methods of curing and preventing disease. Agamben claims that this distinction reflects the way in which the Greeks had no single word for ‘life’. whereas for Aristotle life and politics are treated as separate.8 According to Agamben. As we saw in the previous chapter.10 In other words the entry of zoe into bios constitutes a fundamental shift in the relationship between politics and life where the simple fact of life is no longer excluded from political calculations and mechanisms but resides at the heart of modern politics.

He argues that ‘the Foucauldian thesis will […] have to be corrected. he or she continues to have a relationship with that group of people: it is precisely because of the ban that there continues to be a connection. the originally biopolitical element of politics can be detected in Aristotle’s definition of the polis in terms of the exclusion of zoe from bios. it is central to his account of the Western paradigm of sovereignty.17 According to Schmitt. the West’s conception of politics has always been biopolitical but this relation between politics and life has become even more visible in the context of the modern state and its sovereign practices. On Agamben’s view. The idea of an inclusive exclusion is fundamental to Agamben’s thought because. zoe is included in bios through its very ¯ exclusion from it. Agamben makes a different claim from Foucault’s about the historical-philosophical structure of the West.12 Rather. Agamben writes: ‘the entry of zoe into the sphere of the ¯ polis […] constitutes the decisive event of modernity and signals a radical transformation of the political-philosophical categories of classical thought’. ‘natural life or zoe is there as ¯ that which is excluded.16 If someone is banned from a community. ‘the production of a biopolitical body is the original activity of sovereign power’. the outlaw that haunts the sovereign order: it is thus included by the very process of exclusion’. for ¯ Agamben the political realm is originally biopolitical. such a decision declares that a state of emergency exists and suspends the rule of . however. whereas Foucault reads the movement from politics to biopolitics as a historical transformation involving the inclusion of zoe in the polis. or at least completed’ because a historical shift to biopolitics has not actually taken place. The figure of the banned person complicates the notion of a clear separation between inclusion and exclusion: he or she who is excluded is included by virtue of their very exclusion. Agamben’s approach to sovereignty is influenced by Schmitt’s definition of the sovereign as ‘he who decides on the exception’. To explain what he means by inclusive exclusion.11 In a crucial sense.14 According to Agamben.13 In other words.15 In other words we are not dealing with a straightforward exclusion but rather an ‘inclusive exclusion’. The exclusion of zoe in this context is not ¯ ¯ entirely ‘exclusive’.98 BORDER POLITICS introduction. Agamben introduces the notion of the ‘ban’ which is borrowed from Jean-Luc Nancy. as discussed in Chapter 3. This is because zoe remains in a fundamental ¯ relation with bios. as we shall see. As Jenny Edkins puts it. Indeed.

produces an expendable form of life that Agamben calls ‘bare life’. life and sovereign power put forward by Agamben brings together Nancy’s concept of the ban. Rather. but rather: ¯ The decisive fact is that.19 The diagnosis of the relationship between politics.21 This ‘zone of irreducible indistinction’ is precisely that which sovereign . Agamben. For Agamben. enter into a ¯ zone of irreducible indistinction. On this basis.’ 20 Thus. bios and zoe. rendition or execution. Such a decision. also invokes Benjamin’s critique of Schmitt’s theory of sovereignty that: ‘the tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of exception” in which we live is the rule’. together with the process by which the exception everywhere becomes the rule. and exclusion and inclusion. Agamben argues that it is necessary to isolate and analyse the way in which the classical distinction between zoe and bios is blurred in contemporary political ¯ life: ‘Living in the state of exception that has now become the rule has […] meant this: our private body has now become indistinguishable from our body politic. Bare life is neither of what the Greeks referred to as zoe nor bios. Agamben claims that the key feature of modern politics is not the simple inclusion of zoe in bios.18 Agamben draws on Benjamin’s insight. in an attempt to move the notion of the exception away from the issue of emergency provisions towards a more relational and original function within the Western political paradigm. This ban renders bare life amenable to the sway of sovereign power and allows for exceptional practices such as torture. the realm of bare life – which is originally situated at the margins of the political order – gradually begins to coincide with the political realm. written in a period when emergency powers were repeatedly invoked during the Weimar Republic era in Germany. it is a form of life that is produced in a zone ¯ of indistinction between the two. elaborating on his ‘correction’ of the Foucauldian thesis. Schmitt’s definition of sovereignty. and Benjamin’s notion of the permanence of the state of the exception. right and fact. The sovereign decision bans bare life from the legal and political institutions to which citizens normally have access. outside and inside. however.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 99 law to allow for whatever measures are deemed to be necessary. the activity of sovereign power relies on a decision about whether certain forms of life are worthy of living. which is a sovereign cut or dividing practice.

Before dealing with this central claim about the relationship between sovereignty and subjectivity. Then you may suddenly have zones of indecidability or indifference.22 According to Minca’s formulation. The state of exception is one of those zones. and this contention is crucial when considering his overarching perspective.23 Agamben contends that thinking in terms of borders. In an interview published in the German Law Review. The politics of indistinction: towards an alternative topological register The recent work of Claudio Minca has pointed to the way in which. and thus no political analysis. however. as in physics. despite Agamben’s well-known ideas about sovereignty and the generalised state of exception (to which the analysis will return). without a theory of space’ and it is precisely the spatial-ontological dimensions of Agamben’s work that deserve closer attention when thinking about the possibilities for developing alternative border imaginaries to the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state. The development of the concept of . it is first necessary to unpack and illustrate aspects of Agamben’s central thesis. relatively scant attention has been paid to the spatial dimensions of his thought. where it is impossible to draw a line clearly and separate two different substances’. as in physics. separations and distinctions can be unhelpful when trying to understand the relationship between politics and life. The polarity is present and acts at each point of the field. Agamben argues for an approach to political analysis that allows for the identification of indistinction: [W]e need a logic of the field.24 Agamben’s reference to the need for a ‘logic of the field. is highly significant. What Agamben ultimately seeks to show is that the production of bare life is the originary (if concealed) activity of sovereign power. His understanding and usage of key terms such as ‘zones of indistinction’ and ‘bare life’ are not always clear or even consistent: it must be stressed that there is a need to take them as areas for debate rather than as simple givens.100 BORDER POLITICS power relies upon producing to sustain its own operation. there can be ‘no politics. where it is impossible to draw a line clearly and separate two different substances.

30 This zone of indistinction between inside and outside remains otherwise obscured when relying on a straightforward inside/ outside topology. and an alternative topology is called for: one that reads the terms of a binary ‘not as “dichotomies” but as “di-polarities”’. allies. On this view. In his 1905 paper ‘On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies’.25 On this basis. ambiguity and lack of clarity. Einstein first articulated the ‘Special Theory of Relativity’. movements. and matter’: it is a regime that ‘organises. and distributes bodies. The importance of this alternative topology in Agamben’s work should not be underestimated for it provides a spatial theory that .29 The Möbius strip is a surface with only one side so that what is inside and what is outside enters into a zone of irreducible indistinction: what is ‘presupposed as external […] now reappears […] in the inside’. however: it allows for the identification of fuzziness. space-time is mutually interdependent and forms an immanent field of forces within which substances and events consist of the ‘adventures of electrons and protons’. space was seen as the relationship between points. lines and planes which were idealisations of solid bodies. affectivity.26 The key point about the notion of the field is that entities within it are not mutually exclusive phenomena but physically continuous within their milieu of interaction.27 Because entities collapse into and interpenetrate one another the concept of the border – or the notion of separate ‘bordered’ entities – makes little sense according to this paradigm. there are no separate and autonomous realms of value and meaning outside the field: only the streams and distributions of energy that comprise it. and techniques in space. According to this model. The alternative topological approach represented by a logic of the field brings this zone of indistinction into relief. The premise of the ‘Special Theory’ is that the relationship between space and time is not absolute but relative and contingent. materials. Einstein’s immanent field of forces consists of ‘clusters of action. Classical approaches to mechanics had formerly relied upon a conception of space that derived from Euclidean mathematics.28 Agamben illustrates the different topological register implied by a logic of the field with reference to the Möbius strip (see figure 2). while simultaneously controlling and developing the temporal relations between them’. thinking through strict binary oppositions is unhelpful.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 101 the field in physical theory is most commonly associated with the work of Albert Einstein. Thus. As Stanford Kwinter puts it.

Not only as private/public. one of the chilling implications of Agamben’s argument is that. but also the house and the city. I want to understand how the system operates. to reign and to govern. the exception and the rule. the ‘locus par excellence’ of the impossibility of upholding the classical .’ 31 As I have already noted. And the system is always double.102 BORDER POLITICS Figure 2 Möbius strip informs his analysis of the exercise and limits of sovereign power. subjectivity and the political space or nomos of the West: ‘It is precisely this topological zone of indistinction […] that we must try to fix under our gaze.33 According to Agamben. etc. in the ways that the modern geopolitical imaginary and a conventional logic of inside/outside do. because most accounts of global politics fail to recognise the link between sovereign power and the production of indistinction between zoe and bios. there ¯ is an ‘uncanny affinity between the horrors of the camp and the political philosophy we may turn to’ when trying to comprehend – if not resist – instances of sovereign practice.32 The problem with continuing to think in terms of borders. Further still. it works by means of an operation. is that it is a mode of thought ignorant of such blurring or fuzziness. separations and distinctions. Agamben applies a logic of the field to an analysis of the relationship between politics and life by focusing on the classical distinction between zoe and bios: ¯ I find it much less interesting to insist on the distinction […] than to question the interweaving.

there is sufficient ambiguity for multiple readings of bare life to emerge. and the production of bare life.35 As such. the sweet. contained in the subtitle of Agamben’s original Homo Sacer: Il Potere Sovrano e la Nuda Vita. for Agamben. […] Yet this life is not simply natural reproductive life. For example.34 On this basis. It is. the zoe of the ¯ Greeks. is the ¯ detention centre at Guantánamo Bay.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 103 distinction between zoe and bios. Bare life in Guantánamo Bay Despite the centrality of the concept of bare life in Agamben’s work. bare life does not exist before or outside sovereign power relations. which thus appears as the originary political element.e. a return to the treatment of detainees held in Guantánamo offers a useful backdrop against which Agamben’s notion of bare life can be elucidated further. To suggest ¯ otherwise implies that bare life is something we are all born with whereas. Many writers who draw on Agamben refer to bare life as if it were the same as zoe (i. it is possible to read bare life as the form of life produced immanently by sovereign power in a zone of indistinction between zoe and bios. rather. nor bios. What is more the latter refers immediately to the life (and not the free will) of citizens. bare life is something that is actively produced . a zone of indistinction and continuous transition between man and beast. the bare life of homo sacer […]. It is not something we are born with and can be stripped down to: ‘life conceived as a biological minimum […] to ¯ which we are all reducible’. contrary to this view.36 Yet. Not all scholars agree with this translation. it nevertheless remains elusive and contentious.37 In other words. natural. however. reproductive life of the private ¯ sphere). Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino translate ‘nuda vita’ as ‘naked life’. nature and culture.38 Bare life is not zoe: any attempt at qualifying life as ‘bare’ or ‘good’ is a move away from zoe. a qualified form of life. Such a reading seems to be more ¯ faithful to Agamben’s argument: The foundation (of the modern city from Hobbes to Rousseau) is not an event achieved once and for all but is continually operative in the civil state in the form of the sovereign decision. The term ‘bare life’ is Daniel Heller-Roazen’s translation of ‘nuda vita’.

it can be interpreted as a form of life whose identity is always in question.104 BORDER POLITICS by sovereign power for sovereign power: ‘bare life is a product of the machine and not something that preexists it’. to knowing and understanding a charge against them’.45 Indeed. As ‘pure killing machines’. reflecting dominant notions about what form of life is eligible for protection. neither alive nor dead. the detainees in Guantánamo are not deemed to be ‘humans with cognitive function’ that are ‘entitled to trials. Stripped of political and legal status.43 These conventional logics and frameworks. ‘they are something less than human. guards who stand watch over the detainees in Guantánamo confront a peculiar form of ‘human life’. non-citizens scramble this conventional logic. then.46 As such. to due process. as Butler argues.40 Such a classification itself constitutes ‘arbitrary deprivation of the right to personal liberty’ since it creates a deliberate legal and political ambiguity surrounding detainees’ status.41 In contravention of Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention. the subject of sovereign power in Guantánamo is precisely ‘the subject who is no subject. and yet – somehow – they assume a human form’. neither does this life in any simple way conform to what .39 Once the concept of bare life is untied from zoe.42 It is precisely this production of a deliberate uncertainty surrounding the status of detainees that allows for the indefinite use of exceptional measures against them. ¯ importantly as far as the interpretation of Agamben advanced here is concerned. none of the detainees has been declared a prisoner of war nor presented before a competent tribunal to establish who or what they are. far from a universalistic conception of ¯ subjectivity. and despite repeated calls from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). constitute a juridical–political culture in which it is possible for some ‘humans’ not to be treated as such. The United States government classifies detainees held in Guantánamo as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ but this is not a term recognised by the United Nations or any other international institution. it bears no resemblance to Aristotle’s conception of man as ‘politikon zoon’ in the public sphere or bios.44 Rather. neither fully constituted as a subject nor fully deconstituted in death’. Yet. By referring to detainees as unlawful enemy combatants they are taken outside of international legal and political frameworks: citizens who commit crimes are treated as ‘lawful criminals’.

the life confronted by the guards is a life that scrambles these Aristotelian co-ordinates: we no longer have any idea of the classical separation between zoe and bios in ¯ this context. The figure of homo sacer is sacred in the sense that it can be killed but not sacrificed and is both constituted by and constitutive of sovereign power. Rather. like all forms of subjectivity. as the state of exception is less anomalous and more a permanent characteristic. she argues that this universality exposes an area of weakness in his understanding of subjectivity. Moreover.47 It is a bare life produced by the sovereign practices of the camp that is caught in a zone of indistinction between zoe and ¯ bios: a life that is mute and undifferentiated. Butler’s chief criticism of Agamben is that the claim ‘we .The Generalised Biopolitical Border 105 the Greeks would have called zoe. In other words. this production happens immanently. according to Agamben we all potentially run the risk of becoming bare life: we are all ‘(virtually) homines sacri’. Under biopolitical conditions we are not born as bare life but born with a capacity to be produced as bare life owing to the relationship between our lives and law.48 Assessing Agamben Agamben’s claim that we are ‘all (virtually) homines sacri’ raises some interesting and important questions that are not dealt with explicitly in his oeuvre: What is meant by the idea that we are all ‘virtually’ bare life? Does the concept of bare life allow for any form of differentiation? What are the limitations of adopting Agamben’s logic? How might it be elaborated and/or improved upon? The word ‘virtually’ – though in brackets – seems to do a lot of work in Agamben’s claim that ‘we are all (virtually) homines sacri’. It points to the way in which the production of bare life is very much a dynamic process: a process of ‘becoming’ in Deleuzian terms. such a life belongs to homo sacer or sacred man: a figure in Roman law whose very existence is in a state of exception defined by the sovereign. the virtual is not something that is somehow lacking in ‘reality’ but rather ‘something that is engaged in a process of actualisation’.49 According to Deleuze.50 This is useful when considering Agamben’s claim in greater depth. Although Butler is highly indebted to Agamben. understood as natural reproductive ¯ life confined to the private sphere. For Agamben.51 While political structures certainly condition the virtuality of bare life. it is never fixed or static but ephemeral.

Agamben’s answer to the problem of sovereignty is to transcend it altogether.53 For Butler. Agamben’s approach to the problem of sovereignty is incommensurable with that problem: ‘biocultural life exceeds any textbook logic because of the non-logical character of its materiality […] [it] is more messy.52 Focusing on issues of race and ethnicity. while Connolly accepts the way in which ‘new technologies of infusion’ have ‘intensified’ biopolitical life. according to Connolly.60 Any attempt at defining sovereignty invokes as part of . judgements. certain populations are more likely to be produced as bare life than others. Agamben assumes that there was once a separation between zoe and bios: ‘what a joke […] [e]very way of life ¯ involves the infusion of norms. Butler’s criticism presses Agamben’s Homo Sacer on its tendency to generalise and oversimplify the relationship between sovereignty and subjectivity: a charge that other critics have also recently made.106 BORDER POLITICS are all (virtually) homines sacri’ does not tell us how ‘power functions differentially’ among populations.59 The joint concern of Butler and Connolly is that Agamben’s analysis of the concept of sovereignty does not take into account the complexity of the issues at stake. he maintains that ‘the shift is not as radical as Agamben makes it out to be’. Butler suggests that the creation of an ‘objectless panic’ all too often ‘translates […] into suspicion of all dark-skinned peoples. William Connolly advances similar critiques of Agamben’s account of the logic of sovereignty.54 As such. Although security warnings issued to citizens do not involve racial profiling. For Derrida sovereignty is both ‘silent’ and ‘unavowable’. especially those who are Arab. Such a concern might also arise in the light of Jacques Derrida’s multifarious warnings about the nature of the sovereign operation.58 On this basis.57 Secondly. Firstly. layered. Connolly arrives at the damning conclusion that ‘Agamben displays the hubris of academic intellectualism when he encloses political culture within a tightly defined logic’. Butler argues that the generality of Agamben’s claim fails to appreciate the ways in which ‘the systematic management and derealization of populations function to support and extend the claims of a sovereignty accountable to no law’. For Connolly.55 Connolly’s main objections are twofold.56 Hence. or appear to look so to a population not always versed in making visual distinctions’. and complex than any logical analysis can capture’. and standards into the affective life of participants at both private and public levels’.

After all this actuality is not somehow given but actively produced: ‘sorted. it is a form of subjectivity whose identity is always in question. with its seemingly universalistic pretensions. the notion of bare life might appear too sweeping to allow for nuanced analyses of subjectivity. and bring it within a code of law which. At the heart of this critique is the complaint that the notion of bare life is too homogenising and thus too simple to appreciate the detail and complexity of the production of differentiated subjectivities. If bare life is treated as precisely an indistinct form of subjectivity ¯ that is produced immanently by sovereign power for sovereign power then the undecidability of the figure of homo sacer is brought into relief. the concern would also be that Agamben treats the problematic of sovereignty as if it were something that could be tamed or even identified clearly in the first instance. On the other hand.64 From this perspective. the sting of this criticism is largely neutralised once the notion of bare life is untied from the concept of zoe. therefore.61 On this basis. sovereignty and politics more generally. for itself.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 107 the definition the very concept we are attempting to define. and. On this basis. subject it to rules. sovereignty ‘keeps itself in the night of the secret’. Such a logic. it is a form of subjectivity whose inhabitation of a zone of indistinction requires different modes of political analysis summed up by Agamben in his reference to a ‘logic of the field’. Running throughout these criticisms of Agamben is a worry that his perspective ultimately closes off questions about subjectivity. bare life is a form of subjectivity whose borders are always rendered undecidable by sovereign power. which privileges analysis of the production of zones of indistinction. I want to suggest. not only has implications for the way we consider the production of subjectivities in world politics. It also has significant ramifications for the way we might .62 In this way.63 A Derridean perspective highlights the frailty of any attempt to diagnose the actuality of sovereignty. toward itself. On the one hand. This move allows for a differentiated approach to the production of subjectivities under biopolitical conditions because it does not fix bare life as some sort of given that pre-exists sovereign power. near itself’. compromises the exceptionality that characterises it. and performatively interpreted by a range of hierarchising and selective procedures’. is not self. To confer sense on sovereignty is to universalise it within language. according to Derrida. Derrida argues that ‘the identity of sovereignty is always in question’ because sovereignty ‘has no identity. invested.

The generalised exception As we have already seen. RECONCEPTUALISING THE LIMITS OF SOVEREIGN POWER Homo Sacer ends with the provocative conclusion that: Every attempt to rethink the political space of the West must begin with the clear awareness that we no longer know anything of the classical distinction between zoe and bios. Third.108 BORDER POLITICS reconceptualise the limits of sovereign power and develop alternative border imaginaries. practices and characteristics formerly associated with borders between states in the conventional sense become routinised and dispersed throughout global juridical–political space. Agamben invokes Benjamin’s critique of Schmitt in an attempt to move the notion of the exception away from the issue of emergency provisions towards a more relational and originary function within the Western political paradigm. from here I will argue that it is possible to analyse what might be called the space of the exception. In this way. between private ¯ life and political existence.65 This section explores Agamben’s conclusion further before moving towards an outline of its implications for the way we might reconceptualise the limits of sovereign power. even today. between man as a simple living being at home in the house and man’s political existence in the city. Second. however. Embellishing this theory. especially in terms of his move to generalise the state of exception as a permanent feature of the Western paradigm of government. such a space can be characterised as something resembling a ‘generalised border’ where exceptional measures.66 It is instructive to recall that Schmitt’s theory of exception was in part attempting to neutralise . not as something localised but as rather more generalised and diffused. for Agamben. Benjamin’s engagement with Schmitt ‘proves the necessary and. it is necessary to return to Agamben’s treatment of the concept of sovereignty in greater depth. indispensable premise of every inquiry into sovereignty’. Agamben’s approach to sovereignty is indebted to Schmitt’s theory of the decision on the exception. First.

70 It is precisely Benjamin’s identification of the role of this confusion in the Nazi state that inspires Agamben to attempt then to reconfigure the activity of sovereign power in terms of the creation of zones of indistinction: ‘the essential point […] is that a threshold of undecidability is produced at which factum and ius fade into each other’. the ‘Eighth Book’ is the ‘decisive document in the Benjamin–Schmitt dossier’ because it effectively ‘[puts] Schmitt’s book in check’.67 Through the concept of the exception.69 Benjamin’s counter-argument. One of the cases Agamben draws upon is the post-1914 British legal system which witnessed the generalising of formerly exceptional measures within the state apparatus. C.71 In his brief history of the state of exception. and C. We must attain to a concept of history that accords with this fact. Schmitt was able to show how there is no pure violence outside the law: the exception is a mechanism by which operations outside the law can nevertheless remain part of the law.68 According to Agamben. After Britain declared war on Germany. while not dismissing Schmitt’s book entirely. Agamben emplaces Benjamin’s ‘Eighth Book’ within a broader tradition of early twentiethcentury thought dealing with the transformation of democratic regimes during the two world wars: H. Benjamin responded to Schmitt’s theory of exception by arguing that: The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of exception’ in which we live is the rule. Rossiter’s Constitutional Dictatorship: Crisis Government in the Modern Democracies [1948] all trace the expansion of the powers of the executives of warring states throughout this period. Watkin’s The Problem of Constitutional Dictatorship [1940].The Generalised Biopolitical Border 109 Benjamin’s concept of divine violence outside the law outlined in his 1921 essay ‘Critique of Violence’. the government asked Parliament to approve laws without debate. Then we will clearly see that it is our task to bring about the real […] state of exception. in his ‘Eighth Book on the Concept of History’. Yet. points to the way in which the Third Reich thrived on confusing the difference between norm and exception. law and fact. On . Tingsten’s Les Pleins Pouvoirs [1934]. Friedrich’s Constitutional Government and Democracy [1941]. F. and this will improve our position in the struggle against fascism. and order and anomie.

including so-called democratic ones’ like Britain. Agamben sometimes talks about the becoming-general of the state of . This Order. parliamentary activity virtually ceased altogether and on 29 October 1920 the Emergency Powers Act was introduced in which Article One stated: If at any time it appears to His Majesty that any action has been taken or is immediately threatened by any persons or body of such persons of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be calculated. by proclamation (hereinafter referred to as a proclamation of emergency).110 BORDER POLITICS 4 August 1914 the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed giving the government powers to regulate the economy and limit citizens’ rights. Article One of the Emergency Powers Act constitutes a decisive event in British legal history because it established the principle of the state of exception within the juridical–political order. Agamben refers to contemporary sovereign practices that blur the otherwise taken-for-granted threshold between democracy and absolutism. of the essentials of life. water. which resembles something like an ‘unstoppable global civil war’. His Majesty may.73 In other words.74 In support of this view.76 It is possible to identify something of a tension in Agamben’s account of the history of the state of exception. Agamben claims. declare that a state of emergency exists. On the one hand. by interfering with the supply and distribution of food. Later.72 For Agamben. as we have already seen. fuel. or with the means of locomotion. Since then. to deprive the community. or light.75 One example is President George W. which can be summarised as a question of intensity or structure. or any substantial portion of the community. Bush’s ‘Military Order’ authorising the ‘indefinite detention’ and ‘trial by military commissions’ of non-citizens suspected of terrorist activities. ‘the voluntary creation of a permanent state of emergency (though perhaps not declared in the technical sense) has become one of the essential practices of contemporary states. works to secure sovereign power by blurring the legal and political status of a suspected individual thereby producing a ‘legally unnameable and unclassifiable being’. the state of exception has increasingly appeared as what might be referred to as the ‘dominant paradigm of government in contemporary politics’.

Agamben also emphasises on many more occasions that the transformation of the state of exception into a paradigm of government is not a modern innovation but a feature of Western politics: it is the constitutive paradigm of the juridical–political order. but the norm. or more exactly it is the perpetuation of the emergency as a rule. space and time.80 Some readers will no doubt be displeased with the apparent tension above. If the production of bare life is not a new or particularly recent phenomenon. limited in object. however. as Agamben maintains and illustrates with reference to the figure of homo sacer in Roman law. On the other hand. as a form of prolonged state of exception. reflecting Agamben’s commitment to a ‘logic of the field’. this would open up Agamben’s perspective to the critique Walker makes of the troublesome privileging of immanentism that sees history as a long march to borderlessness.79 In other words. . as Didier Bigo usefully puts it: The state of emergency in which we live is not an exceptional moment. then the exception must be seen as a fundamental feature of Western politics. it is also possible to read intensity and structure not as dichotomous but as fundamentally interrelated.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 111 exception in the West as if it were a gradual turning of the screw since World War I. what has changed within this overarching framework is the historically contingent character of both the method and the location of the production of bare life. however. then there are grounds for drawing parallels between Agamben’s reading of modernity and the reading offered by Hardt and Negri in the previous chapter. to our contemporary conjecture. through fascism. In turn. although the extent to which one must choose between intensity or structure as if they were mutually exclusive is debatable.78 Agamben argues that the years since World War I have seen the ‘testing and honing’ of this paradigm of government that is in a fundamental sense an originary aspect of the juridical–political life of Western societies: What the ark of power contains at its centre is the state of exception – but this is essentially an empty space. In this way.77 If this reading is adopted. in which human action with no relation to law stands before a norm with no relation to life. As I will go on to argue.

it makes more sense to think of this as occupying a far less localised terrain than that associated with traditional state borders. life with juridical–political status that deserves to be lived). the very condition of its possibility). Through the inclusive exclusion of bare life. ‘Bare life’. which is neither zoe ¯ nor bios. the constitutive outside refers to the decision on life itself. is not simply the taking of land but the taking of an outside or exception. typically understood in terms of the delimitation of sovereignty at the outer edge of sovereign territory according to the modern geopolitical imaginary. might be seen as exceptional spaces: an undecidable zone of anomie excluded from the ‘normal’ juridical–political space of the state but nevertheless an integral part of that space (in fact.112 BORDER POLITICS The generalised space of the exception Agamben argues that what is at stake in the sovereign exception is the ‘creation and definition of the very space in which the juridical– political order can have validity’. In other words. Instead. the constitutive outside of sovereign territory is not a space that is to be found fixed at the edge in a geographical sense. Yet. sovereignty is presented as an activity that perpetually distinguishes between politically qualified life on the one hand (that is. Rather. interstate borders. As such. for Agamben. According to Agamben. Sovereign power relies upon the production and inclusive exclusion of bare life against which ‘the human’ as the politically qualified life of the polis is made possible.81 He also claims. Agamben sees the constitutive outside as something interior to the juridical–political order itself. however. which constitutes the sovereign nomos according to Schmitt. the sovereign move is not a simple exclusion. As discussed in Chapter 3. the constitutive outside of sovereign territory is the generalised state of exception that brings together law and life since there is no fundamental relationship between the two. On this view. it consists of an inclusive exclusion through the decision on the status of different forms of life: one that blurs the categories of zoe and bios thereby creating a zone of indistinction ¯ between the two. life without juridical–political status). sovereign power thus . inhabits this zone of indistinction. Rather. and life that is a mere biological fact on the other hand (that is. To reiterate Agamben’s central thesis. if we are to consider the spatiality of the constitutive outside. that such activity. Agamben’s work challenges us to resituate the constitutive outside of sovereign territory in a far more generalised way.

88 On this basis.89 Hence.82 The camp excludes what is captured inside which. the exception and the rule. he argues that the camp is ‘in some sense […] the hidden matrix and nomos of the political space in which we live’. Agamben claims that the camp is symptomatic of the workings of the juridical–political system of Western sovereign biopolitics. historically associated with the state of exception and martial law. bios and zoe fail to hold in the final analysis. Agamben seizes on the emergence of concentration camps in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.86 Rather. while there may be few camps such as Guantánamo. the camp is another figure that is characterised somewhat ambiguously in Agamben’s work. the licit and the illicit’. The camp can be read as a historically contingent manifestation of the operations of sovereign power: ‘the space that opens up when the state of exception starts to become the rule’. people in camps. the ¯ space of the camp is fundamentally paradoxical: ‘the camp is a piece of territory that is placed outside the normal juridical order’ and yet ‘it is not simply an external space’. For Agamben. as a spatial arrangement of the state of exception in which bare life is produced in a zone of indistinction between zoe and bios. however. inside and outside and so on. Agamben argues that the camp represents: ‘the most absolute biopolitical space that has ever been realised – a space in which power confronts nothing other than pure biological life without any mediation’.84 To some extent. the camp is the structure in which the state of exception is permanently realised’.85 For Agamben. as we have seen in the context of Guantánamo. as an inclusive exclusion. the camp is not understood as an anomaly or a merely historical fact. Because law is suspended in the camp and arbitrary or exceptional decisions on the status of life become the rule. .87 In other words. inside and outside.83 As such. ‘move about in a zone of indistinction between the outside and the inside. the camp is itself a ¯ structure: ‘if sovereign power is founded in the ability to decide on the state of exception. The camp reveals something fundamental to the Western paradigm born of the exception: the attempt to materialise the state of exception and create a space in which bare life and juridical rule enter into a threshold of indistinction. blurs conventional spatial distinctions between internal and external.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 113 establishes the constitutive outside of territory in which the juridical– political order can be said to have validity. to illustrate how the simple dichotomies between inclusion and exclusion.

exceptional practices have become routinised and bare life is produced through the blurring of zoe and bios. Agamben points to the way in which the production of zones of indistinction.114 BORDER POLITICS the logic upon which these places rest can be observed in territory or space conventionally defined as the ‘normal’ interior of the state. where exceptional activities become the rule. but. Indeed. or outer-lying areas of sovereign space gradually blur with what is conventionally taken to be the ‘normality’ of that space. which is now firmly settled inside [the nation-state]. an apparently innocuous space in which the normal order is de facto suspended and in which whether or not . for example: Bagram and Kandahar air bases in Afghanistan. ¯ On the other hand. At these sites. the new Sodhexo-run detention centre near Heathrow. and various so-called CIA ‘black sites’ in Eastern Europe). Agamben implies that in more recent times it has become increasingly generalised in contemporary political life: ‘the camp. the next section advances the concept of the ‘generalised biopolitical border’ to try to capture the production and existence of these zones of indistinction: a concept that offers promise for an alternative conceptualisation of the limits of sovereign power to that assumed by the modern geopolitical imaginary. the Baxter immigration facility in southern Australia. Elaborating upon Agamben’s work. is the new biopolitical nomos of the planet’. Whereas the space of the exception was once localised in spaces such as the camps.90 In Homo Sacer Agamben refers to zones d’attentes in French airports (where foreigners seeking refugee status are detained) as an example of the way in which the structure of the camp permeates everyday life: In […] these cases. margins. The concept of the generalised biopolitical border On the one hand. is more and more widespread in global politics. the notion of the generalised space of exception points to the way in which characteristics usually associated with the edges. as I have shown against the backdrop of Guantánamo. Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca in Iraq. the production of bare life in zones of indistinction is most visible in contemporary camps specifically designated for that purpose (not only Guantánamo.

inter alia. there has been a ‘normalisation of a series of geographies of exceptionalism in Western societies’ throughout everyday life.94 Laustsen and Dikken largely reiterate Agamben’s argument. if controversial.97 According to Mbembe: ‘colonies are zones in which war and disorder. but draw novel.98 Mbembe’s reading of colonial occupation as the production of bare life in zones of indistinction or ‘death worlds’ . he continues: ‘the colonies are the location par excellence where the controls and guarantees of juridical order can be suspended – the zone where the violence of the state of exception is deemed to operate in the service of “civilisation”’. Mbembe reads colonial occupation as a matter of seizing and asserting control over a geographical area through the production of bare life in zones of indistinction. parallels between concentration camps and what they call ‘liberatory’ spaces such as Ibiza. have attempted to show that the camp is the prototypical social unit by looking at. internal and external figures of the political stand side by side or alternate with each other’. for example.96 His core argument is that colonisation not only relies upon disciplinary and biopolitical modalities of power but also on a third dimension: the ‘necropolitical’. sex tourism and theme parks. Examples of such death worlds include colonies in Africa and the Middle East where ‘the sovereign might kill at any time or in any manner’.93 By now there is a growing literature that illustrates the generalised state of exception to which Agamben refers. gated communities. In ‘Necropolitics’. rape camps. demonstrative of the scope of his work beyond the political structures of the West. as Claudio Minca has put it.95 A more substantive application and embellishment of Agamben.91 Under biopolitical conditions in which ‘the paradigm of security has become the normal technique of government’. Under conditions of ‘necropower’ the status of the living dead is attributed to swathes of populations occupying/ constituting ‘death worlds’. Agamben argues that the blurring of the citizen and the bare life of homo sacer is not encumbered by traditional limits: ‘Living in the state of exception that has now become the rule has […] meant this: our private body has now become indistinguishable from our body politic’. On this basis.92 On the contrary.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 115 the atrocities are committed depends not on law but the civility and ethical sense of the police who temporarily act as sovereign. is offered by Achille Mbembe. Sociologists Carsten Laustsen and Bülent Dikken.

I want to focus on the implications of Agamben’s central thesis. he does not take this point any further. rather than borders between states. Instead of viewing the limits of sovereign power as somehow spatially fixed at the outer edge of the state. By contrast. On this view. for the way we might think about that ‘political space’. the concept of the border of the state is substituted by the sovereign decision to produce some life as bare life: it is precisely this sovereign cut or dividing practice. His account of the necropolitical in Africa emphasises how the establishment of death worlds. Many African states cannot claim the monopoly of the legitimate use of force. to the way in which Agamben’s line of argument (or one that is indebted to it) challenges conventional thinking in terms of the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state. Consequently. that the structure of the camp is the ‘hidden matrix and nomos of the political space in which we live’. there is little or no monopoly on territorial borders.116 BORDER POLITICS points to the inadequacy of the inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state. the concept of the ‘archipelago’ is used to describe .99 While Mbembe draws attention. Such a decision performatively produces and secures the borders of political community as the politically qualified life of the citizen is defined against the bare life of homo sacer. delimits sovereign power. one way of capturing this alternative border imaginary is what I call the concept of the generalised biopolitical border. however.100 Moreover. The concept of the generalised biopolitical border refers to the global archipelago of zones of indistinction in which sovereign power produces the bare life it needs to sustain itself and notions of sovereign community. one that can effectively happen anywhere. and conflict entails urban militias and/or private armies more so than the mobilisation of sovereign subjects as citizens who respect each other as enemies. such a decision can be read as a security practice because the production of bare life works to shore up notions of who and what ‘we’ are: notions. Mbembe argues that ‘it makes little sense to insist on distinctions between “internal” and “external” political realms’. for example. Here. following Eyal Weizman. that are commonly mobilised as part of an array of responses to perceived threats of terrorism. Agamben reconceptualises these limits in terms of a decision or speech act about whether certain life is life worth living or life that is expendable. that constitutes the ‘original spatialisation of sovereign power’.101 Although Agamben does not refer to it in his work.

one bullet entered his shoulder and three bullets missed). GENERALISED BORDER POLITICS: THE CASE OF THE SHOOTING OF JEAN CHARLES DE MENEZES At 10. The concept of the generalised biopolitical border points to the way in which bordering practices are rather more diffused throughout society than the modern geopolitical imaginary implies. however.103 The case of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes illustrates the dynamics captured by the concept of the generalised biopolitical border and the changing method and location of the production of bare life.104 Five-and-a-half hours after the shooting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair issued a statement in which he claimed that the operation had been ‘directly linked’ to ongoing investigations into the attempted bombings in Central London the previous day.106 In a statement the following day.102 Thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border unties an analysis of the operation of sovereign power from the territorial confines of the state and relocates such an analysis in the context of a global terrain that spans ‘domestic’ and ‘international’ space. the spatial expression of a series of ‘states of emergency’. Ian Blair announced that the person shot dead at Stockwell had been acting suspiciously and was challenged by police but refused to obey instructions. With its focus on the production of zones of indistinction the concept of the generalised biopolitical border can therefore be read as a response to those who call for alternative border imaginaries to the conventional inside/outside model underpinned by the concept of the border of the state.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 117 … a multiplicity of discrete extraterritorial zones. the Commissioner announced that a . In this sense. […] no longer the shores of politics but […] the space of the political itself ’. it reflects Balibar’s observation that borders are being ‘multiplied and reduced in their localization.05 on 22 July 2005 UK anti-terrorist officers killed Jean Charles de Menezes on board a stationary underground train at Stockwell Station in South London by firing eleven rounds at close range (seven bullets entered his head. or states of exception that are either created through the process of law [through which law is in fact severely undermined or annulled] or that appear de facto within them. […] thinned out and doubled.105 At that time.

management and carrying out of the killing. in a dreadful way. the initial report given by the police had not mentioned anything about the surveillance operation mounted outside a block of flats located on Scotia Road in the Tulse Hill area of London on the morning of 22 July.112 . According to Nafeez Ahmed. following the completion of the first part of the inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the shooting.111 We now know that the aim of that stake-out was to find suspects linked to the attempted bombings on the London transport network the day before – in particular. an aberration or a lamentable one-off tragedy. there are many ambiguities and unanswered questions about the circumstances leading to and surrounding his death. It was. Ian Blair commented: In a terrible way. had been found at the site of the attempted blast in the Shepherd’s Bush area.110 On the other hand. It was transfixed on: where are these bombers? And therefore. or wondering what the Met is hiding from us’. That was our mistake. we can deal with the reality of politics today – rather than worrying about whether we could be next. One blind spot relates to the elementary issue of precisely who was involved in the planning. we run the risk of colluding with rather than offering a critique of the activities of sovereign power.118 BORDER POLITICS ‘mistake’ had been made and that there was no evidence to connect Menezes with the attempted bombings or any other ‘terrorist’ activity. an uncritical acceptance of the discourse of the ‘mistake’ reifies rather than questions the very framework within which the killing of Menezes has been valorised. by merely accepting the discourse of the ‘mistake’ as a starting point in reflecting on Menezes’s death. including a gym membership card leading to the Tulse Hill address. the Met was transfixed on other things.107 Six months later. It was a bad mistake. Despite the emergence and subsequent entrenchment of a particular narrative about what happened to Jean Charles de Menezes on 22 July 2005 (‘22/7’). In other words.108 Discussion in the mainstream UK media of the killing has been typically framed by Sir Ian Blair’s explanation that it was simply a ‘mistake’: an error. we didn’t see the significance of that. Hussein Osman whose details.109 According to one commentator this framing is entirely appropriate: ‘by recognising that de Menezes’ death was a freak mistake.

121 An officer.115 A positive identification had been made before the bus arrived in Stockwell and it is thought that Cressida Dick. contrary to initial reports about his suspicious behaviour. and there have been unconfirmed suggestions about the involvement of military personnel and/or members of the Special Forces.123 One eyewitness account had suggested that Menezes was wearing a heavy winter coat with wires protruding from it. three bullets missed his body. the police officer in charge of the ‘Gold Command’ centre at Scotland Yard.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 119 Information about the surveillance team remains sketchy. grabbed Menezes. After alighting from the bus. anti-terrorist officers followed him on his thirty-threeminute bus journey from Tulse Hill to Stockwell Station.118 Having boarded the stationary underground train. the reasons why Menezes was simultaneously mistaken as an ‘IC1 male’ and Hussein Osman and not in any way challenged by surveillance team members seeking confirmation of his identity remain unclear.114 Even though Menezes’s racial profile did not match that of Hussein Osman or any of the other suspected bombers. many reports obscure questions surrounding this involvement by focusing on the anti-terrorist officer who was distracted from Menezes’s emergence from the flats at 09. wrapped his arms around him and pinned his arms to his side while he was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. authorised the use of lethal force if necessary to stop Menezes boarding an underground train. Menezes crossed Clapham Road and walked 1. walked through the ticket barriers using his ‘Oyster Card’ as payment and then took the escalator to the northbound Northern Line platform.120 According to one eyewitness Menezes ‘looked like a cornered fox’ as the officers approached him.124 Images of Menezes’s body lying dead on the floor of the carriage clearly show.000 metres into Stockwell station where. known as ‘Hotel 3’.113 Nevertheless.117 He began to run towards the platform only once he had noticed that a train was arriving in the station.33 because he was ‘relieving himself’ in nearby bushes. At no point was he stopped or challenged.122 Despite being fired at point-blank range. Menezes sat in a carriage facing the platform.119 Undercover surveillance team members flanked him and held the carriage doors open for armed anti-terrorist officers as they ran down the escalator and into the carriage in which Menezes sat. he picked up a free copy of The Metro newspaper. .116 Yet. however.

126 Yet. unofficial reports from the Tube Line Consortium.128 Similarly. and no cameras were operating in the carriage where the shooting took place because the hard drive had been taken away for examination following the failed attacks of the previous day. maintain that at least 75 per cent of cameras at Stockwell station and all on the train should have been working. He knows you don’t run away and his English was perfect. temporally and spatially. attempts are made by sovereign power to reproduce and secure the politically qualified-life of the polis. and sentenced him. According to police sources. ‘22/7’ as a form of temporal bordering Reflecting on the killing of her son. the shooting of Menezes can be viewed as a reflection of innovative ways in which. there had been ‘technical difficulties’ with CCTV equipment on the platform. his cousin. all in the space of a moment.129 Patricia de Menezes said: ‘They judged my cousin. Alex Pereira.125 No explosives were found attached to his body and he was not carrying a rucksack or bag. There is no explanation for him ignoring a warning because there was no warning. and not just have shot and killed him without knowing who he was. there is scant footage recording Menezes’s movements from Scotia Road to the carriage on the train at Stockwell. remarked: Jean had lived in São Paulo. Despite these infamous images. stopped him and asked him where he was going.127 Against the reading of ‘22/7’ as a mistake. It is a dangerous city and he knew the rules there: if you run away when the police tell you to stop. which is in charge of running the Northern Line service. that he wore a lightweight denim jacket in keeping with the mid-morning temperature (18°C/64 °F). then you are dead.120 BORDER POLITICS however.’ 130 What is striking and interesting about these reactions is that the family members complain in a very basic . Maria Otone de Menezes commented: An honest policeman who was doing his job properly would have spoken to my son first.

it has always already hit.136 .’ 133 The lightning-strike decision is a foregone conclusion because it sidesteps or effaces the blurriness of the present in favour of a perceived need to act on the future without delay. it can be argued that Menezes was produced as ‘bare life’: a form of life whose status is indistinct. Borrowing from Agamben. Massumi points to the way the United States administration tends to skip decision-making that takes time because: Deliberation […] in the current lexicon […] is perceived as a sign less of wisdom than of weakness. Paradoxically. Where there is a sign of it. it always seems to have preceded itself.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 121 sense about the lack of time given to Menezes: he was denied the time to explain or defend himself as would be expected in the normal juridical process. […] To admit to discussing. for this very reason the ‘Kratos’ policy does not actually allow for decision-making or at least forms of decision-making that take time to deal with the dilemmas provoking the need for a decision in the first place. all in the ‘space of a moment’.134 Illustrating his argument Massumi suggests that this approach characterises the Presidency of George W.’ 135 Citing Bush’s admission that it took just twelve minutes for him to ‘discuss’ the invasion of Iraq with cabinet colleagues. Indeed. studying. The decision that Menezes’s life was not life worth living can be directly linked to the Metropolitan Police’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. Bush for whom there is no time for uncertainty: ‘I have made judgements in the past. I have made judgements in the future. analysing is to admit to having been in a state of indecision preceding the making of the decision. however. to prevail’. confident and forceful decisioning. time was quite literally ‘taken away’ from him. Brian Massumi likens this form of decisioning to a ‘lightning strike’ or ‘flash of sovereign power’. banned from conventional law and politics and subject to exceptional practices. to be decisive. temporary sovereigns decided that Menezes’s life was not life worth living but a life that could (and should) be dispensed with.132 Moreover. he argues that this approach is the temporal equivalent of a tautology : ‘the time form of the decision that strikes like lightning is the foregone conclusion. When it arrives. consulting. It is to admit to passages of doubt and unclarity in a blurry present.131 On this understanding. ‘Kratos’ is associated with notions of clear. also known as ‘Kratos’ referring to: ‘the power to decide.

the politics of preemption does not respond to events by simply trying to ‘prevent’ them but actually effects or induces the event: Rather than acting in the present to avoid an occurrence in the future. On the one hand. in other words. the ‘lightning strike’ approach in general is one that seeks to act on the future or. because there is now smoke’.139 In other words. In this way the ‘Kratos’ policy acts as a temporal bordering process: it pre-empts threats to sovereign political community that come from the future thereby securing time as something that belongs to the state and not to terrorists.122 BORDER POLITICS For Massumi. he has also warned that we should be prepared for more killings like it: ‘These are fantastically difficult times […] It’s still happening out there. in effect. Ian Blair is effectively dealing with the consequences of future killings under the ‘Kratos’ banner before they actually happen irrespective of whether they actually do. Massumi argues that we are witnessing the birth of a new form of response in the context of the global ‘war on terror’: the politics of ‘pre-emption’. A politics of pre-emption does not simply predict but actually causes fires: ‘it is like watching footage of a fire in reverse: there will have been fire.140 Massumi illustrates his point using the analogy of a fire. indifferent to its actual occurrence. Sir Ian Blair has referred to the killing as a ‘mistake’. But. however. pre-emption brings the future into the present.137 Whereas traditionally. in the United Kingdom. as Didier Bigo has illustrated with reference to the film Minority Report . Hence.141 The discourse of the foregone conclusion is one that is identifiable with the killing of Menezes. on the other hand. one that responds to the threat of ‘an indefinite future: what may yet come’. It makes present the future consequences of an eventuality that may or may not occur. as we have already seen. there are still officers having to make those calls as we speak […] Somebody else could be shot. there are now distinct echoes of Pentagon policies post-9/11 which. threats were responded to through ‘prevention’. The event’s consequences precede it. as if it had already occurred.138 This change is marked by a shift in temporal registers from the indefinite future tense to the future perfect tense: the ‘always-will-have-been-already’.’ 142 What seems to be at stake here is precisely an attempt to securitise the future by bringing it into the present: ‘it’s still happening out there’.

146 As such. and the possibility of both symbolic and physical violence’. walkways. but it also prevented other emergency services still reliant upon the O2 network from doing their job properly. fraught with racialised taunts.144 Attempts at firming up the temporal borders of sovereign political community have been played out spatially through changes to the built environment in London. place emphasis on the capacity to pre-empt anywhere and at anytime.45 on 7 July 2005 the mobile phone operator O2 was ordered by the City of London Police to close their network to the public for an area totalling 1 kilometre square around Aldgate. office blocks and so on. the killing of Menezes can be read as symptomatic of innovations in forms of bordering that rely upon the blurring of public and private spaces. perhaps more subtly still. the production of ‘bare life’ is not a new means of securing forms of sovereign political community. On the one hand.143 ‘22/7’ as a form of spatial bordering In the context of the ‘War on Terror’.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 123 (2002). Yet. repeated security checks and harassment. as discussed in the London Assembly Report. which are often designed to manage rather than prevent flows among the population of the city. was designed to assist the service needs of the City of London police. Sometimes these changes are visible.145 This emergency zoning. the securitisation of time and space are mutually implicated as Joseph Pugliese suggests: ‘the civic spaces of the city become spaces of uncivil danger.148 Applying Agamben’s argument. territory and power which are all raised as problems for future discussion in the Assembly Report. from 12 noon to 16. as Agamben shows in relation to the . For example. In other ways these changes can be subtler and integrated into patterns of daily life. such as the use of ‘Oyster Cards’ on the transport network. this form of electronic bordering is intimately connected to questions about sovereignty. such as the installation of CCTV cameras across the city in tube stations.147 William Walters has coined the term ‘firewalling’ for this type of electronic bordering process which reflects the need for ‘new metaphors and figures to capture the character of borders today’. the introduction of new GPS satellite technology has also allowed for the development and emergence of new forms of electronic bordering.

2007. 2003. 6. Connolly. 7. 2007. point to a new preparedness to make ‘lightning decisions’ about life worth living (the politically qualified life of the polis) and life not worth living (‘bare life’) potentially anywhere. 4. and van Munster. Edkins. 2. 2004. ‘Missing Persons’. ‘X/Xs’. and its valorisation by the authorities in their subsequent investigations. Menezes’s death.124 BORDER POLITICS figure of homo sacer in Roman law. 2005. Ibid. Trauma and the Memory of Politics. Sovereign Lives. Pin-Fat and Shapiro. ‘Bio-Sovereignty and the Emergence of Humanity’. 5. 2003. such decisions are no longer localised or fixed at particular ‘border sites’ in the margins of sovereign territory but increasingly more widespread or diffused throughout society: a phenomenon that is captured by the concept of the generalised biopolitical border. . 3. In this way Agamben’s chilling conclusion that ‘we are all (virtually) bare life’ is perhaps regrettably less sensationalist than it might at first seem. Rajaram and Grundy-Warr. what arguably is new about current bordering practices. ‘The War on Terror’. Neal. 2006. 2005. 2004. 2004. Prozorov. ‘States of Exception’. Caldwell. ‘Introduction: Life. ‘Humanitarianism. Edkins. Homo Sacer. Power. Bigo. Doty. ‘Foucault in Guantánamo’. 2007. State of Exception. Menezes was not killed in a camp or space especially designated for such exceptional practices but in a tube station in Central London. 2008. 2007. With the advent of ‘Kratos’. are the location and method of the production of ‘bare life’. and calls for alternative ways of identifying and interrogating the types of bordering processes upon which sovereign power relies: ‘these are fantastically difficult times […] It’s still happening out there […] Somebody else could be shot. On the other hand. 2004. 1998. of which the shooting of Menezes is symptomatic. Closs Stephens and Vaughan-Williams. 1999. Edkins. ‘Detention of Foreigners’. Remnants of Auschwitz. Edkins. 2004 and ‘Through the Wire’. The Logics of Biopower and the War on Terror. Agamben. ‘The Complexity of Sovereignty’. Edkins and Pin-Fat. After all. Terrorism and the Politics of Response. Resistance’. 8. Dauphinee and Masters.’ 149 NOTES 1. Humanity. 2004. Human’. ‘The Irregular Migrant’. 2005.

Ibid. Schmitt. p. Agamben. ‘Abandoned Being’. 612. Agamben. 2000. Ibid. 24. for example. 12. Science and the Modern World. 612 (emphasis added). 2006. 6.. Precarious Life. ‘Agamben’s Geographies of Modernity’. 13. Ibid. 1998. 139. p. 2003. 37. p. 2002. 2000. Ibid. p. p. 31. ‘Form-of-Life’. Agamben. 36. p. Agamben. 143. 2004. Edkins. However. they set-up and use the terms ‘bare or naked life’ and ‘zoe ’ interchangeably (pp. ‘Whatever Politics’. 29. ‘Zones of Indistinction’. 1993. and Ojakangas. 4. p. Agamben. Agamben. Nancy. 28. 30. 15. Minca. 151. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the Politics of the Living Dead’. 2004. ‘On the Concept of History’. 9 (emphasis added). 37. ‘Interview with Giorgio Agamben’. 25. Homo Sacer. Political Theology. 18. 6–7). p. 2004. 2005. ‘Missing Persons’. 2005. 2005. ‘Interview with Giorgio Agamben’. Norris. Homo Sacer. 14. 1996. ‘Interview with Giorgio Agamben’. 7. Architectures of Time. p. 37. ‘Interview with Giorgio Agamben’. 9. Trauma and the Memory of Politics. Agamben. Homo Sacer. 6. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the New Biopolitical Nomos’. 2005. 2005. ‘Impossible Dialogue on Bio-Power’. 20. Edkins and Pin-Fat note that the concept of bare life is contentious and open to different readings. 26. 67. Benjamin. 35.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 9. p. Ibid. Homo Sacer. 11. 10. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the Politics of the Living Dead’. 3. p. 1985. 34. 612. 2006. Kwinter. 2005. 14. p. 290–307. State of Exception.. See. 190. Means Without End. 16. Agamben. 180. p. Ibid. Agamben. 2005. Agamben.. 1998. 2006. 612. p. p. 388. p. Edkins and Pin-Fat. p. Whitehead. ‘The Return of the Camp’. 14. Ibid. 2004. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the New Biopolitical Nomos’. Minca. Edkins. Binetti and Casarino. p. 2004.. 1998. 2007. 2003. ‘Translators’ Notes’. p. 109. p. Norris. 22. Edkins. .. p. 14. 2006. 32. pp. p. 21. 27.. 33. p. p. 1998. 392. ‘Through the Wire’. Laustsen and Dikken. Agamben. For other examples of ¯ this tendency see: Butler. 17. 2001. p. 19. 3. 125 23. p.

2003. Deleuze. Ibid.. Ibid. and resonating with Agamben’s treatment of bare life. p. p. Žižek. 2004. 101. 68. 46. . in a manner consistent with the Geneva Conventions’ (emphasis added). pp. 87–8. Butler. Derrida. 61. E/CN4/2006/120. Homo Sacer. 111 Ibid. 59. 335.. 63. 57. 98. p. 53. becoming is said to constitute a ‘zone of indiscernibility’. ‘Becoming-Intense’. 54. 45. 2005. 23. 100. Derrida. p. Precarious Life. Ibid. Precarious Life. The UN report on the situation of detainees in Guantánamo points out that the United States government relies upon the deliberate cultivation of ambiguity in order to flout the Geneva Conventions. 40. 1998. 138. 2000. UN. this formulation is ambiguous because it implies that military necessity may. 31. p. Agamben. 39. 51. p. Butler. p. 67. Ibid. p.126 38. Deleuze and Guattari refer to the way in which becoming is ‘[…] the in-between. p. 98.4/2006/120. 58. 28–30.. 2002. 2005. Butler. E/CN. 55. Agamben. 65. p. overrule the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. pp. p. 2004. 2003. p. 60. Ibid. or line of flight’. 323–4. BORDER POLITICS 43. UN. 62. 48. 187.. p. ‘The Complexity of Sovereignty’. Ibid. As the UN report notes. See Deleuze and Guattari. p. In a memorandum sent by the Department of Defense dated 16 April the government states: ‘US Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and. 56. 335. 64. 52. Agamben. 41.. Agamben. to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity. 44. 2006. the border. Precarious Life. Connolly.74. ‘From Restricted to General Economy’. 2003. Means Without End. 1998. 2001. Ibid.. Homo Sacer. Ibid. Ibid. under certain circumstances. 49. 50. 47. 91. As such. 29. Ibid. ‘The deconstruction of actuality’. Derrida. p. 2006. 28. Ibid. pp. Pure Immanence. p. State of Exception. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. p. 1994. p. Rogues. 2002. 42. 12.

2–3. 29. Ibid. 45. Ibid. 2005. Agamben. 97. Agamben. 3. For a review of the limitations of Laustsen and Dikken. 2005. p.. 2006. Benjamin. 18–19. 72. Agamben. ‘The Ban. 86. . government leaders such as Tony Blair. Homo Sacer. Means Without End. 95. 2006. 2. pp.. 70. 8. Homo Sacer. 63. p. ‘they speak of specific administrative derogations or ask for more power for a short period (under a sunset clause)’. p. Ibid. p. 2000. 87. p. Agamben. pp. Quoted in ibid. Ibid. 73. 1998. ‘Necropolitics’. 39. Bigo. 88. 89. Benjamin. 37. p. 2005. 1998. 40–1. 92. 2000. Means Without End. p. Agamben. p. p. 68. p. Agamben. Ibid. Agamben. Ibid. The Nazi state proclaimed a state of exception in 1933 but this was never repealed. Laustsen and Dikken. Ibid. Homo Sacer. Bigo. 40. 6–7. p. 6. 87. 388. As Didier Bigo has pointed out. Means Without End. 2002. 127 74. 77. Means Without End. and the Exception’. 4. p. p. State of Exception. 2. p. Agamben. p. 2005. Ibid. pp. 2000. Homo Sacer. 5. 90. Homo Sacer. p. 93. ‘Zones of Indistinction’. p. 85. 83.. Agamben. Agamben. 79.. 2003.. 82. p.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 66. 75. pp. Ibid. 69. ‘On the Concept of History’. 19. 2006. 41. pp. State of Exception. Agamben. 67. 5. State of Exception. 2003. see McLoughlin. Agamben. 1998. Mbembe. Culture of Exception.. p. 80. ‘The Ban.. 2005. 1998. the Pan. 69. 84. 83. 39.. the Pan. p. p. George Bush. ‘Critique of Violence’. 2005. Ibid. and John Howard do not necessarily declare states of emergency formally. 81. Minca. Ibid. 171–2. 96. 1998. Ibid. 37. State of Exception. 3.. 25. Means Without End. pp. 7. 58. Rather. p. 71.. 91. 40. 174. 2000. 2000. and the Exception’. pp. 2004. ‘The Nomos of the Modern’. 78. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the New Biopolitical Nomos’. 2005. 9. State of Exception. 28.. 94. 76. 39.

‘Met Chief admits Menezes mistakes’. 2006. The Daily Telegraph. Ibid. p. 2006. 2007. 2006. ‘Asymmetries of Terror’. 2005. 113. Whitby. The London Bombings. 115. 2006. 126. 2006. on 22 July 2005’. ‘Asymmetries of Terror’. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the New Biopolitical Nomos’. 2005. 97. 97–100. Daily Telegraph. p. 120. The London Bombings. 112. 101. ‘On Extraterritoriality’. 2007. 388. p. Ibid. 2007. Pugliese. ‘I saw tube man shot’. p. Appleton. 2005. BBC News Online. 99. Pugliese. Appleton. 103. Whitby. ‘London Attacks in Depth’. ‘London Attacks in Depth’. 117. ‘UK police defend shoot-to-kill after mistake’. Black. BBC News Online. Ahmed. 7–7 The London Bombs. ‘London Attacks in Depth’. Minca. Daily Telegraph. Ibid. 106. NBC News. 2006. 1998. Ibid.. 2005. 104. Weizman. 97. BBC News Online. ‘Memorial to paranoia’. 2007. 109. 125. ‘UK Police defend shoot-to-kill mistake over Menezes’. ‘The Borders of Europe’. Ibid. Ibid. 1. 128. Cusick. ‘Man Shot Dead by Police on Tube’. 2005. 2007. 130. 116. 2006. 100. ‘De Menezes “shot 11 times during 30 seconds”’. pp. ‘London Attacks in Depth’. NBC News Online. p. 2008. 2006. Davenport. 2006. 105. 32. 13. 2006. 2006. 24. 2006. ‘Memorial to paranoia’. 107. 2005. ‘Special Report’. ‘Met chief admits serious mistake over Menezes’. Taylor. 26 August 2005. ‘Special Report’. BBC News Online. 2007. 2006. Ibid. ‘De Menezes “shot 11 times during 30 seconds”’. 118. p. 108. 114. Closs Stephens. ‘7 Million Londoners. 1. UK. BBC News Online. 129. Ibid. 220. 123. Ahmed. 119. 121. p. The London Bombings. Balibar.. 110. 2005. 122. 102. ‘Met chief admits serious mistake over Menezes’.. Ibid. Ahmed. ‘Weather in London. 127.128 BORDER POLITICS 98. Daily Telegraph. BBC News Online. . p. One London’. Quoted in Taylor. 2005. Taylor. 111. p. 2005. 124. ‘A Cover up?’. ‘Special Report’. ‘London Attacks in Depth’. ‘I saw tube man shot’.

The London Assembly. 148. 6–10. p. ‘Asymmetries of Terror’. 5–7. Ibid. 5.. 2005. 2006. pp. 147. 7–8. 146. Territory. 145. p.. 6. Ibid. 2005. Report of the 7 July Review Committee... 143. 140.. 138. 2005. Ibid. 132.. NBC News. Ibid. 134. p. 137. 139. Bigo. 136. ‘The Future Birth of the Affective Fact’. Pugliese. 148. 6. Ibid. pp. 129 . 142. 149. ‘Rethinking Borders Beyond the State’. 13. p. Ibid. ‘UK police defend shoot-to-kill after mistake’. NBC News. 2005. pp. Massumi. Ibid. Rogues.. 133. Population’. ‘UK police defend shoot-to-kill after mistake’. pp. 144. 2006. Derrida. pp. Walters. 2006. Ibid. 135. Ibid.. Ibid. 4–5. Ibid. p. 2006. ‘Protection: Security. 141.The Generalised Biopolitical Border 131. 8–9.

3 This is because the question of whether a given concept is ‘adequate’ or ‘apposite’ to our conditions will depend upon a prior judgement about who ‘we’ are and what ‘our’ conditions might be in the first place. Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt call for the ‘proposition of new concepts for political theorising today adequate to our conditions’. and this move reorientates the relationship between theory and practice so that the two are not conceived as separate but rather inextricably linked: ‘the relationship between theory and practice remains an open problematic. strategies and organisations’. This is illustrated in the cases of United Kingdom and European Union border security arrangements considered in Chapter 1 which. retain a traditional understanding of it in their operations at ports. The concept of the border of the state is also prominent in diverse theorisations of global politics from the mainstream works of Waltz. alongside innovations in understanding what and where ‘the border’ is. a kind of laboratory for testing the effects of new ideas. airports and the outer-geographical edge of the sovereign territories they seek to protect. On the one hand. with significant ethical and political implications. in its own right.1 Virno and Hardt tie conceptual revision to political change. underpinning the modern geopolitical imaginary and conventional inside/ outside model. has occupied and continues to occupy a prominent position in conceptualisations of global politics.2 The task of inventing new concepts apposite to the study of contemporary global politics not only assists in political analysis but constitutes a critical praxis. the concept of the border of the state. both explicitly and implicitly. Bull and Wendt in IR through to treat130 .Chapter 5 ALTERNATIVE BORDER IMAGINARIES: THE POLITICS OF FRAMING In their reflections on the role of radical theory.

namely conceptualisations of juridical–political order. such as the ‘offshoring’ of the European Union’s borders in West Africa or the United Nation’s legal argument mobilised in defence of detainees held in Guantánamo. Walker and Weizman. the production of citizensubjects. What difference does thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border make for IR and related disciplines? What does it mean for. the analysis turns to the work of Jacques Derrida in order to comment on potential problems with the generalised biopolitical border and what I shall go on to outline as the activity of framing in global politics. imply that this conventional border imaginary has undergone radical transformation. Having outlined this concept. For this reason. On the other hand. for example. the concept of the generalised biopolitical border was introduced based upon Agamben’s reconceptualisation of the limits of sovereign power. as a framework for political understanding and practice. Second. to illustrate how these aspects of political life could be rethought under conditions of the generalised biopolitical border. As such. as we have also seen. concepts of violence and sovereignty in Benjamin. departing from pessimistic readings of the implications of Agamben’s thought for ethical–political practice. the inside/outside model. who imply the need for alternative border imaginaries to the conventional inside/outside model. and security practices. I shall then spell out what I consider to be the affirmative mode of alternative thinking that the concept of the generalised biopolitical border gestures towards. a logic of inside/outside and the modern geopolitical imaginary? What forms of ethical–political thought and praxis might follow from it? To address these questions. this concept can be read as a response to those writers.Alternative Border Imaginaries 131 ments of. and how does it relate to. many critical analysts of global politics have pointed to what they consider to be the ‘inadequacy’ of the concept of the border of the state. and in the manner of political theorising advocated by Virno and Hardt. Derrida and Schmitt. and the modern geopolitical imaginary. the primary task now is to flesh out how the generalised biopolitical border might lead to different practice/theory in global politics. as discussed in Chapters 2 and 3. I shall begin by returning to three examples considered in the Introduction to the book. Finally. multifarious practices in contemporary political life. . such as Balibar. In the previous chapter.

is predicated upon the performative act of suspending the law to produce a zone of indistinction in which bare life can be produced. In this way the concept of the border of the state helps to domesticate the contingency of the juridical–political order by acting as a familiar reference point on the basis of which the repetition of diverse practices cumulates to create a sense of normality and permanence. Agamben’s account of the logic and operation of sovereign power demonstrates that this order. but one that serves to benefit those whose interests are bound up in maintaining the status quo. Consequently. thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border reveals the contingency and performative self (re)production of juridical–political order. notwithstanding aberrations from time to time. as Agnew. Ó Tuathail and other critical geopolitics scholars have pointed out. the role of the concept of the border of the state in maintaining this semblance of stability and immutability contributes to a form of knowledge privileged by the modern geopolitical imaginary that is inherently linked to questions of power and authority. Instead. accounts of global politics that rely upon an unreflective usage of the concept of the border of the state are complicit in practices of forgetting the contingency of the juridical–political order and therefore also the reification of it. born of the exception.132 BORDER POLITICS THINKING IN TERMS OF THE GENERALISED BIOPOLITICAL BORDER The concept of the border of the state has enabled a dominant conception of juridical–political order that is central to the modern geopolitical imaginary: a view of that order as being divided between domestic and international realms and. sovereign power does not pre-exist bare life and neither does bare life pre-exist sovereign power. largely settled and stable. In other words. sovereign power and bare life must be thought of as co-constitutive of each other. Seen in this light. Sovereign power comes to exist only through the constant (re)production of bare life in zones of indistinction that are amenable to its sway: The essence of political power in the West […] is the power to suspend (not apply) law and thus to produce a sphere of beings . the work that the concept of the border of the state does in upholding the juridical–political order is not a natural nor neutral practice. By contrast. Yet.

As Andrew Norris puts it: ‘politics must again and again enact its internal distinction from bare life […] it must repeatedly define itself through the negation of bare life – a negation that can always take the form of death’. is a unilateral judgement made by government officials who simply deem that a given individual. echoing Derrida’s discussion of authority in Chapter 3. it is through the production of homo sacer that the politically qualified life of the polis. or indeed a group. human rights: ‘the decision to detain. Whereas the modern geopolitical imaginary supported by the concept of the border of the state implies a static. if not universal. may be.Alternative Border Imaginaries 133 without quantities. the legitimacy of sovereign power is legitimised by nothing other than its own legitimisation. to continue to detain someone indefinitely. thereby constituting an extension of sovereign power by stealth. it is a decision that is increasingly taken by government officials (such as those who sanctioned and shot Jean Charles de Menezes) rather than by democratically elected politicians. As Judith Butler has explored in her discussion of Agamben against the backdrop of indefinite detention in Guantánamo. Agamben’s thesis reveals this as a performed fiction.6 Moreover. One way of characterising how the generalised biopolitical border reconceptualises the (re)production of the juridical–political order is in terms of performance. is ultimately defined and sustained.4 On this basis. the decision leading to the production of bare life is underwritten by so-called national security imperatives defined by a state of emergency: in this way the invocation of the discourse of exceptionalism attempts to legitimise the suspension of national and international law. whom every being. homines sacri. Therefore. as Butler highlights. the politically qualified life of the polis and the form of juridical–political order this subjectivity enables are contingent upon a sovereign decision about the status of some ‘human’ life as not worthy of being lived as such. insofar as he or she is alive. . necessary for juridical–political order.5 In other words. this decision relies upon nothing other than the ‘deeming’ of certain forms of life to be ineligible for certain basic. poses a danger to the state’.7 Often. The sovereign decision that creates bare life is not necessarily a singular act but a reiterative performance: one that leads to the perpetuation of bare life detained indefinitely in camps or left to die in cargo containers at sea. immutable juridical–political structure that is somehow given.

The subjects produced by the ideology of humanitarian intervention closely resemble the subjects of sovereign power: mute. Such a formulation attempts to domesticate the radical contingencies of subjects’ socioontological status and fix their identities to territory in order to secure the presence of sovereign political community. According to the modern geopolitical imaginary. Bodies do not simply encounter pre-existing borders as if they were timeless territorial artefacts. According to an Agambenian perspective. ultimately. human rights and sovereign power are not diametrically opposed because ultimately they both rely upon the same referent object: bare life. undifferentiated. the ‘proper’ political subject is the citizen: ‘bordered’ and autonomous before the law in the same way as the sovereign state of which it is a subject. as Agamben’s analysis implies. In this way border/body performances depend upon movement and are played out at sites across everyday life. One example. contexts and locations in which bare life is produced in global politics.9 Conventional accounts of the relationship between human rights and sovereign power suggest that the former has a capacity to act as a check on the worst excesses of the latter. In the same way that sovereign . and then treated as either trusted citizen travellers or bare life. shows a more insidious dimension to this relationship which. Thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border prompts an alternative line of analysis that redirects emphasis away from the modern bordered citizen. Agamben. and depoliticised.8 The insistence on the significance of the marginal figure of homo sacer highlights the need for further analysis of the multifarious methods. For Agamben. is a critical engagement with the politics of humanitarianism.134 BORDER POLITICS Moreover. challenges the basis for an optimistic reading of the potential of international human rights. the ‘real sovereign subject’ is not the citizen but rather homo sacer: the ‘mute carrier of sovereignty’ defined not by contract or rights but by exposure to the sovereign decision on whether it is deemed life worthy of living. A perspective that identifies the performative character of the juridical–political order reconfigures the way in which the relation between borders and subjectivity might be analysed. this border performance is also a body performance. Rather. borders are continually (re)inscribed through mobile bodies that can be risk assessed. however. which has already received some attention in the academic literature inspired by Agamben. categorised.

The concept of the generalised biopolitical border. Agamben argues that under biopolitical conditions in which security becomes the normal technique of government. Rather than essentialising the enemy as the other outside the state. for example.13 Furthermore. as Anne Caldwell puts it. the concept of humanity cannot be relied upon to check sovereign power: rather. an Agambenian approach is more attentive to the ways in which different threats are produced as ‘foreign’ or ‘exteriorised’. humanitarianism renders people into needy victims. there is a danger that they can end up in solidarity with the very powers they ostensibly seek to overcome or at least mitigate: the discourse of human rights fails to call into question the distinction between politically qualified life and bare life upon which the conception of rights rests. classical .12 Such a picture permits a double designation of ‘the enemy’ so that it is taken to be both (a) outside the state but (b) itself another state which.11 Thinking in terms of the generalised biopolitical border also has potentially challenging implications for the way in which analyses of global security relations might be framed. as. despite the stated aims of humanitarian organisations and ventures. scrambles this conventional logic and the assumed alignment between inside/amity and outside/enmity. stability and possibility of progress inside the state on the other. To a large extent the concept of the border of the state offers a stable and comfortingly coherent means of mapping who. Dan Bulley has shown in the case of the London bombings on 7 July 2005. it has become a political group. as Slavoj Žižek has provocatively argued. bombs or food parcels’.10 Therefore. represented by a new political power’. ‘humanity instead appears as the ground and object of sovereignty. lives to be saved taken outside of the workings of normal juridical–political order. In other words. where and what ‘the enemy’ is: it enables the juxtaposition of an immutable realm of warfare and barbarism outside the state on the one hand and the impression of safety. in turn. however. concentration camps and refugee camps can be seen as two sides of the same sociological matrix: ‘perhaps the ultimate image of the treatment of the “local population” as homo sacer is that of the American war plane flying above Afghanistan – one is never sure what it will drop.Alternative Border Imaginaries 135 power produces the bare life it needs to sustain itself. in such a way that justifies flouting norms of territorial integrity and ‘intervening’ in the affairs of another sovereign state. leads to the possibility of a resolution of conflict through classical forms of warfare between sovereign states. Thus.

136 BORDER POLITICS interstate warfare is eclipsed. however. where he seeks to propose an alternative to. it is itself quite un-political’. On Jenny Edkins’s view. and lines of amity and enmity are fundamentally blurred. as security becomes the ‘basic principle of state activity’ politics is reduced to policing. a bleak assessment of Agamben’s work. and indeed a contestation of. There is a phrase from Marx. directions. the sacred.17 By now a growing number of scholars have identified a more ‘positive’ moment in Homo Sacer. change and.16 In an interview in 2004. Andreas Kalyvas argues that Agamben’s portrayal of the ‘unstoppable march to the camp’ is ‘totalistic […]. But I don’t see it like that. even despairing. I don’t see myself as pessimistic. and though it is concerned with politics and its eclipse. sovereign biopolitics’. ‘overlooks a significant facet of Agamben’s work. and biopolitics to a historical impasse’. For this reason. Conflict is no longer between states but potentially between the terroristic state and its citizens who are ‘all virtually homines sacri’. Rather. his diagnosis of the relationship between politics and life. Agamben seems to lead in somewhat pessimistic. in short. that I like a lot: ‘the desperate situation of society in which I live fills me with hope’. cited by Debord as well.14 ETHICAL–POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE GENERALISED BIOPOLITICAL BORDER Prima facie.18 Agamben and ethical–political praxis Central to Agamben’s thinking about ethical–political praxis and resistance against sovereign biopolitics is his conception of the subject . analysis of the production of bare life in zones of indistinction. Indeed.15 William Connolly arrives at a similar conclusion: ‘Agamben […] carries us through the conjunction of sovereignty. and prognosis that ‘we are all virtually homines sacri’ imply a bleak picture of the possibility for contestation. such as that reached by Kalyvas and Connolly. Agamben replied to his critics: I’ve often been reproached for (or at least attributed with) this pessimism that I am perhaps unaware of. politics.

Paul does this by dividing the division itself: by introducing a further division between the Jew according to the flesh and the Jew according to the spirit. It is a matter. and play. it’s the same root. rester. instead of a simple separation between Jews/non-Jews. of working with what disables them through resisting. the biopolitical terrain of global politics can be understood as ‘a kind of de-subjectification machine: it’s a machine that both scrambles all the classical identities and […] a machine that […] recodes these very same dissolved identities’. Paul intervenes by taking the law on on its own terms. a remainder is produced that renders the applicability and operativity of the law ineffective: a new form of subject that is neither a Jew nor a non-Jew but a ‘non-non-Jew’. Agamben places his hope for a kind of minority politics in this form of unworking of the system or biopolitical machine from within: One should proceed in this way. and [non-Jews] who are [non-Jews] according to the flesh. rather than by asking oneself: ‘What would be the universal communal principle that would allow us to be together?’ To the contrary. because there are Jews who are Jews according to the flesh. meaning to violate or transgress. not the spirit.19 According to Agamben. in the situation itself’. but not according to the spirit’.23 Consequently. confronted with the divisions introduced by the law.25 Elsewhere.24 Applying this logic to contemporary conditions. Agamben is interested in the way in which. This division of the division means that. from division to division.22 In The Time That Remains [2005].21 Agamben’s thought does not lead to nihilism or passivity but calls for the radical invention of new practices: ‘a movement on the spot.Alternative Border Imaginaries 137 as an interval or remainder between what he refers to as practices of subjectification and de-subjectification.20 For Agamben it is possible to think through the potential for resistance by rendering the machine inoperative on its own terms. instead of applying a universal principle to argue against this sovereign cut.26 He illustrates the logic of profanation through play with the . through remaining – résister. Agamben links the move to render the system inoperative with notions of ‘profanation’. there are now ‘Jews who are not Jews. According to Agamben. Agamben gives the example of St Paul’s negotiation with the Jewish law that divides Jews and non-Jews.

Agamben is clear that any move to render biopolitical apparatuses inoperative must do so on the basis of his diagnosis of the relationship between politics and life as outlined in the previous chapter: It is by starting from this uncertain terrain and from this opaque zone of indistinction that today we must once again find the path of another politics.30 The notion of ‘whatever being’ refers to being-as-such: ‘the simple fact of one’s own existence as possibility or potentiality’. is perhaps the ‘only imaginable . It is here that I must find my space once again – here or nowhere else.27 With this example Agamben seeks to demonstrate the profanatory potential in play as a means of creating a new use of something by deactivating an old one. this figure. this play stages the very same behaviours that define hunting’. of another world. Rather. for any reason ¯ whatsoever.138 BORDER POLITICS example of the cat that plays with the ball of string as if it were a mouse. According to Agamben. The ultimate call is to subvert the given machine or apparatus according to its own logic: ‘to wrest from the apparatuses – from all apparatuses – the possibility of use that they have captured’.29 The figure that Agamben draws upon to think through the possibility of resistance is what he calls ‘whatever being’.32 It constitutes a ‘pure singularity’ in the sense that it cannot be broken down into different parts. of biological body and body politic. of another body. is not to mobilise resistance on the basis of universal generalised principles such as human rights. Prospects for thinking and acting otherwise in global politics centre around the figure of the refugee in Agamben’s work.33 The task. of zoe and bios. I would not feel up to forgoing this indistinction of public and private. The game frees the mouse from being cast as prey and at the same time the predatory activity of the cat is shifted away from the chasing and killing of the mouse: ‘and yet. which can be understood precisely as the ‘remnant’ of sovereign biopolitics.28 In Means Without End [2000]. it is to explore and invent the profanatory potential that resides within remnants of forms of subjectification and de-subjectification produced by sovereign power itself. Only a politics that starts from such an awareness can interest me. then.31 ‘Whatever being’ has no essence that can be separated from its attributes.

Alternative Border Imaginaries 139 figure of the people today’: a ‘whatever being’ that throws conventional juridical–political categories into disarray.36 The prospect of this city as the capital of two states. reflecting the Möbius strip outlined in the previous chapter. nothing less than a border concept that radically calls into question the principles of the nation-state and.38 . helps clear the field for a no-longer-delayable [sic] renewal of categories. citizenship or other conventional categories. that man’s political survival today is imaginable.34 Indeed. divided from each other by a series of reciprocal extraterritorialities. without territorial divisions.35 Taking the refugee as a starting point for the reconstruction of political categories and philosophy demands attention to how the topology wrought by this figure. disaggregates political space from the homogeneous and territorially bordered sovereign nation-state to create the possibility for new political arrangements: It is only in a land where the spaces of states will have been perforated and topologically deformed. that is. and the citizens will have learned to acknowledge the refugee that he himself is.37 This alternative topology. at the same time. might stimulate alternative conceptualisations of ethical–political relationality. but rather the refugium of the individual. Agamben illustrates the direction in which this thinking could lead against the backdrop of the politics of space in Jerusalem. sovereignty. for Agamben. ‘could be generalized as a model of new international relations’. embodied by the figure of the refugee. Rather. the refugee […] should be considered for what he [sic] is. one could imagine two political communities dwelling in the same region and in exodus one into the other. Agamben continues: Instead of two national states separated by uncertain and threatening boundaries. this unique figure acts as a site for the invention of alternative forms of political community not based on unity. in which the guiding concept would no longer be the ius of the citizen.

Edkins and Pin-Fat argue that strategies for contesting sovereign power ‘cannot consist of a call for a reinstatement of classical politics. nowhere in his work does Agamben claim that the biosovereign order he diagnoses and engages with is in fact necessary or somehow inevitable. Jenny Edkins. as she explains.44 In other words. the challenge for practical politics is to envisage how such a reinstallation might take place. it will not do for any such ¯ contestation to find its basis in the very logic it is trying to overcome. Instead. the former is a type of relation that merely involves the technologised administration of sovereign biopolitics: in other words a form of slavery or servitude.39 The suggestion that the biopolitical sovereign order does not constitute ‘a political life at all’ ties into a broader argument Edkins and Pin-Fat seek to establish: that sovereign power is not a relation of power in the Foucauldian sense. that ‘it is by starting from this uncertain terrain and from this opaque zone of indistinction that today we must once again find the path of another politics. Following Agamben’s claim referred to earlier. indeed. associated with social movements. This leads Edkins to deny that sovereign power constitutes the only possible form of political life and.41 With the emergence of a global zone of indistinction in which we can no longer distinguish between ‘our biological life as living beings and our political existence’. any attempt at contesting sovereign biopolitics must. independently and together with Véronique Pin-Fat. according to Edkins and Pin-Fat. would reappropriate rather than displace that flawed logic.43 On this basis. .140 BORDER POLITICS Agamben and the possibility of resistance In her recent work.45 This is because. Edkins emphasises that identity politics. Significantly. for instance. of another world’. identity-based claims ultimately work within the same horizon as sovereign power: ‘such a claim is a demand for inclusion in or recognition by the state.42 Thus. however paradoxical it may seem.40 Relations of violence do not produce subjectivities in the same way as power relations. that it constitutes a political life at all. of another body. but rather one of violence. a reinstatement of the distinction between zoe and bios’. the possibilities for resistance arguably have been curtailed. seek to reinstall power relations ‘with their accompanying freedoms and potentialities’. has explored what Agamben’s thought might mean in the context of resistance against biopolitical apparatuses in the current ‘War on Terror’. as discussed in Chapter 3.

Agamben’s notion of ‘whatever being’ lacks the features permitting the sovereign capture: ‘what the state cannot tolerate in any way […] is that the singularities form a community. the form of life sovereign power produces for its own survival is also potentially the source of its undoing. as far as the potential for a politics of resistance is concerned.Alternative Border Imaginaries 141 not a claim that contests or disrupts the notions of inclusion and exclusion upon which sovereign power depends’.50 These moves. that humans co-belong without any representable condition of belonging’. warrant closer attention. Edkins and Pin-Fat argue that such a politics consists of two interrelated moves: the refusal to draw abstract lines of the sort sovereign power itself relies upon. the form of being produced by sovereign power. the logic of sovereign power must assume a distinction between the two to begin with. ‘turns out to be that form of being sovereign power finds intolerable’. bare life.48 Somewhat ironically. and/or what they call the assumption of bare life. as Edkins has pointed out.49 Put differently. and their implications for how thinking in terms of a generalised biopolitical border might prompt a reframing of ethical– political practice/thought. then. what is required is a displacement of the logic that might tie resistance back to sovereign politics: If a logic of sovereign power is identified that relies for its very operation on the production and organisation of bare life as a form of life that is hospitable to its operation. In practical terms. This implies the need for a life that is inseparable from its form: one where the classical binary between zoe and bios does not hold and ¯ cannot be blurred in a zone of indistinction. without affirming an identity. The type of politics that might follow from Agamben’s formulation – a ‘whatever politics’ as Edkins puts it – is one that capitalises on this potential ‘weakness’ in sovereign power. that is.47 One way of challenging sovereign power would be to remove the grounds upon which it is able to produce bare life in the first place thereby rendering the biopolitical machine inoperative on its own terms. This . then it is in a sense obvious that a challenge to sovereignty might be framed in terms of a refusal or destabilisation of that very form of life itself.46 Rather. Crucially. To produce a zone of indistinction between zoe and bios that is ¯ hospitable to the cultivation of bare life.

who. Rather. ears and mouth: . Edkins and Pin-Fat emphasise that they are not arguing for a renegotiation of where these lines are drawn: to renegotiate in this fashion would be to remain inside the relation of violence. Such an acceptance occurs when the subject both acknowledges and also demands recognition of its status as nothing but bare life. Among others they cite the case of Abbas Amini. an Iranian national seeking asylum in Britain.51 Importantly.52 The second and interrelated strategy of resistance put forward by Edkins and Pin-Fat involves what they call an acceptance of bare life and it is this line of thought that perhaps reflects Agamben’s notion of inoperativity most closely. indeed.53 The transformation occurs as the subject literally lays bare the violent excesses upon which sovereign power rests by assuming them. What counts as politically qualified life is not a static given but a historically contingent outcome. To counter this. and Jews) although the fear arising from Agamben’s work is that we are now all potentially excluded as homines sacri. nothing else will do) that sovereign power (as a form of violence) can be contested and a properly political power relation can be reinstated. in 2003. In this way properly political power relations are reinstalled as the subject transforms bare life into what Agamben calls form-of-life. inside and outside. human and inhuman: ¯ It is only through a refusal to draw any lines at all (and. women. Edkins and Pin-Fat draw on the provocative example of the phenomenon of lip sewing among refugees. To illustrate this point. protested against the government’s immigration policies by sewing shut his eyes. but also to resist the call to draw any lines of the sort sovereign power demands’. Edkins and Pin-Fat suggest that one form of resistance would be to reject or to prevent the inscription of borders between zoe and bios. they argue that to move outside this relation of violence and reinstall a properly political power relation must involve the cessation of linedrawing in toto: ‘[…] we need not only to contest its right to draw lines in particular places.142 BORDER POLITICS involves drawing abstract lines or borders between different forms of life in order to distinguish the politically qualified life of the polis from life that is deemed not to be worthy as such. Different groups have been excluded from politics throughout history (for example slaves.

with all hope lost. or rather to a human being as such. subjects need to be constantly on the move: without movement biopolitical bordering practices cannot operate. to the point that it’s humanity itself that has become the dangerous class. Agamben has protested against what he considers to be the ‘biopolitical tattooing’ of the US Department of Homeland Security by publically resigning from his position as Visiting Professor at New York University and banning himself from air travel to the United States. By assuming bare life Amini takes away the grounds upon which sovereign power would otherwise operate. this example highlights that. the only site left for resistance is in complete embrace of bare life as a form-of-life that has its own bios. jams the generalised biopolitical border because. can be read as an act where. . goods and services. His actions adopt the logic of the system in order to jam it. have made the person the ideal suspect. thereby effectively rendering himself immobile.55 Since March 2004. for border security to work effectively. Indeed. Another example of an attempt to render the sovereign biopolitical machine inoperative is Agamben’s own refusal to travel to the United States. as we have seen in previous chapters.56 In an article published in Le Monde in 2004.58 Agamben’s decision to ban himself from travel to the United States. Agamben claims that: ‘History teaches us how practices first reserved for foreigners find themselves applied later to the rest of the citizenry.’ 57 Citing the capture and filing of finger print and retina data as reflecting a new ‘normal’ biopolitical relationship between the citizen and the state.Alternative Border Imaginaries 143 Amini’s political act of resistance. states. which should constitute the precise space of political life. The profanatory potential of this insight has yet to be mobilised as far as resistance against some of the most insidious practices legitimised by the ‘War on Terror’ is concerned. using his own body. it relies precisely on circulation of people.54 This example offers a useful illustration of what Agamben means by an act of transgression that un-works the biopolitical system from within. he argues: By applying these techniques and these devices invented for the dangerous classes to a citizen.

Edkins and PinFat stipulate that they are not advocating the refusal of all dividing lines and installing limits as Prozorov claims: ‘we are specifically referring to the drawing of lines between what amounts to forms of life as “politically qualified” or as “bare life”’.61 It is precisely their intention to ‘dispense with the very principle of order’ as far as it is founded upon the sovereign ban and a division between forms of life.144 BORDER POLITICS The limits of a ‘logic of the field’ Sergei Prozorov has expressed dissatisfaction with the ‘discomforting contours’ of the critique of sovereign power and the possibilities for a practical politics of resistance proposed by Edkins and Pin-Fat.64 This exchange is interesting because it highlights an area of ambiguity in Agamben’s work that is carried through to Edkins and Pin-Fat’s discussion of the possibilities of a practical politics that follow on from it. they argue that the form of praxis emanating from their reading of Agamben is one that ‘insists […] on the politics of decisioning and particular distinctions and demands that specifics of time.60 In their counterresponse. Edkins and Pin-Fat make it clear in their response to Prozorov above. however. On the one hand.63 With this proviso in mind. Edkins and Pin-Fat argue that Prozorov’s criticisms make sense only ‘when viewed from the framework of sovereign power’.65 In this way the ethical and political codes they call for resonate with the spirit of Agamben’s logic of the field as outlined in Chapter 4.66 In this way there seems to be a depar- .59 On this basis. that it is not all but only certain distinctions they are refusing: only the ‘drawing of lines upon which sovereignty depends’.62 Furthermore. place and circumstance be attended to in each instance’. at the heart of Edkins and PinFat’s argument is a normative commitment to the displacement of line drawing or practices of bordering associated with sovereign politics: ‘nothing less will do’. Prozorov dismisses the forms of resistance advocated by Edkins and Pin-Fat as ‘quaintly paradoxical’. On the other hand. As Prozorov sees it: [T]he proper avenues of critique appear self-defeatingly extreme. if not outright inconceivable: the total refusal to draw dividing lines and installing limits is ultimately a call to dispense with the very principle of order.

If it is the former case then the ‘metadistinction’ Edkins and Pin-Fat rely upon in their argument – between certain types of distinctions that are to be refused and other types of distinctions that are to be embraced – surely falls prey to the very logic they are ostensibly seeking to displace. does not escape or ‘go beyond’ the inside/outside dichotomy in any straightforward sense. In her essay ‘Whatever Politics’. understood as a form of dividing practice. If it is the latter then the question arises. while the border between inside/outside is shown not to be fixed at the geographical outer edge of the sovereign state as the modern geopolitical imaginary implies. how do we know which borders. distinctions and separations. the substitution of the concept of the generalised biopolitical border for the concept of the border of the state means that the dividing practice upon which sovereign power relies is recast: not something pre-given. distinctions and separations should be refused? We are then back to familiar questions located within the framework of sovereign politics: Who draws the line? Where? On what grounds? Furthermore.Alternative Border Imaginaries 145 ture from a logic of the field and a return to thinking in terms of borders. If one of the purposes of the production of bare life is to define the politically qualified life of the polis. In other words. the generalised biopolitical border. Despite Agamben’s commitment to a logic of the field. Therefore. an additional problem arises when the relationship between a logic of the field and the concept of the generalised biopolitical border is considered against the backdrop of the inside/ outside problematic. distinctions and separations. Agamben’s diagnosis of the activity of sovereign power as the decision to produce some life as bare life (and thus other forms of life as non-bare life) is still reliant upon and reiterative of an inside/outside way of thinking. To abandon a mode of thought that is reliant upon borders. distinctions and separations is difficult – perhaps impossible – to envisage as Prozorov’s comments reflect. or just some. Effectively. static and localised at a territorial extremity but reinscribed as a performance throughout society in a more generalised sense. the ambiguity lies in the issue of whether Agamben’s call for a logic of the field implies the need for the abandonment of all forms of borders. Agamben’s call for an adoption of a logic of the field in political analysis raises these thorny questions without putting forward any easy solutions. then the former acts as the constitutive outside of the latter. Edkins suggests that the move to acknowledge the inevitable .

the history of the structure of Western thought since Plato is effectively a history of binary oppositions. Through this questioning. and. in philosophy and in politics. by outlining what I call his account of the politics of framing. the following section investigates Derrida’s treatment of borders further in order to elucidate what is at stake with the identification of these problems arising from Agamben’s adoption of a logic of the field: first. by examining Derrida’s problematisation of the concept of the border in a general sense. she claims that. the structure of Western thought is shown not to be natural but rather laden with assumptions and priorities that often have significant ethical and political implications. and inside and outside are prominent examples. they are always already doomed to failure and break down on an everyday basis: ‘Attempts are continually made.’ 68 Pursuing this line of enquiry. third. in the here and now. Derrida writes: ‘What deconstruction is not? Everything of course! What is deconstruction? Nothing of course!’ 70 More accessible accounts of the basic moves of deconstructive thought can be found in Positions [1981] and Limited Inc.69 Oppositions of this nature constitute a powerful conceptual order: especially because we are often unaware we are using or relying upon them. second. by applying this account to the question of the relation between the concept of the border of the state and the concept of the generalised biopolitical border as rival border imaginaries in global politics. [1988]. THE POLITICS OF FRAMING According to Jacques Derrida. In a very broad sense. deconstructive thought engages critically with these binaries by unpacking the logic that they ultimately rest upon. cause and effect.67 Drawing on Jacques Derrida. while borders attempt to produce clarity and offer stability. to make distinctions. In his ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’. Derrida insists that .146 BORDER POLITICS chaos of a world without lines is not hopelessly utopian. but these only ever partially or temporarily succeed. The basic moves of deconstructive thought Derrida is notoriously hesitant to define deconstruction because any attempt at such a definition would be ironic. speech and writing. of which presence and absence.

72 In this way the first or superior term tends to assume a degree of naturalness and. This second move is precisely the displacement of the logic of the system. Instead. cause is privileged and given logical and temporal primacy over effect. ‘does not consist in moving from one concept to another. ‘is to avoid both simply neutralizing the binary oppositions of metaphysics and simply residing within the closed field of these oppositions. inhabit[s] [it] without ever constituting a third term’. deconstruction does not simply reverse the privileging of terms because this would reappropriate. It is on that condition alone that deconstruction will provide the means of intervening in the field of oppositions it criticizes and that is also a field of non-discursive forces. a double writing – put into practice a reversal of the classical opposition and a general displacement of the system. origin or source.74 In other words.79 A deconstructive line .’ 77 Jonathan Culler offers a useful illustration of the basic moves of deconstruction. Culler argues. writes Derrida. however. it is strictly on the condition of such a double gesture alone that deconstruction might intervene in the field of oppositions it criticises.78 Typically. but in reversing and displacing a conceptual order within which it is articulated.Alternative Border Imaginaries 147 a deconstructive strategy or way of reading always involves a double and simultaneous movement: Deconstruction cannot be restricted or immediately pass to a neutralization: it must. the logic at play. rather than displace.76 ‘Deconstruction’.71 The first move of deconstruction is to recognise that the terms within any given binary opposition are not strictly opposites after all but hierarchically arranged because one of the two terms is usually privileged over the other: presence over absence. Derrida argues that a different strategy is required. through a double gesture. Derrida argues that it is necessary to overturn this hierarchy. inside over outside.73 A deconstructive strategy. thereby confirming it’. speech over writing. however. as such. cause over effect. focusing on causation and the binary opposition between cause/effect.75 As the extract at the beginning of this section emphasises. is referred to as a kind of centre. double science. It involves identifying what is called the ‘undecidable’: something that can no longer be contained within the binary opposition ‘but which.

Using this example.81 On this basis.83 Second. Rather. Culler goes on to make three key points about the way deconstruction works in this example.85 Deconstruction upsets this conventional wisdom: if the effect is what causes the cause to become a cause. then the effect. in turn. causes the production of a cause.86 According to Culler: ‘by showing that the argument which elevates cause can be used to favour effect. First. Culler’s deconstructive analysis does not lead to the conclusion that causality is something we should abandon in our thinking. Perhaps we see a pin. the appeal is not to some sort of external benchmark to engage with causality but the principle of the concept of causality itself: ‘the deconstruction appeals to no higher logical principle or superior reason but uses the very principle it deconstructs’. because the feeling of pain causes us to find the pin which. at the same time. the deconstructive move is to apply the concept of causality to causality itself. These are worth going through here because they raise some key features about what deconstruction does and does not entail. What is at stake in this example is that cause is more complicated than the cause-leading-to-effect structure implies. in his deconstruction of causality. A link is therefore made between the pain and the pin. Third. in employing the concept of causality in its deconstruction of that concept. we are unable to speak of ‘the cause’ in any simple sense.80 This feeling causes us to look for a cause for the pain. Culler asks us to imagine that we feel a pain. In producing a causal sequence the perceptual order is then reversed from (a) pain to pin to (b) pin to pain.82 Causality is not abandoned in the example above because it is the feeling of pain that causes the process of identifying a cause. not the cause. one uncovers and undoes the rhetorical operation responsible for the hierarchisation and one . In this way.148 BORDER POLITICS of enquiry. it is not an indubitable foundation but the product of a tropological operation’. Culler asserts the indispensability of causation while. refusing it as an unquestionable foundation. deconstruction involves the critic rather than putting him/her outside that which is critiqued. shows that this structure is not a given. Culler argues that ‘the causal scheme is produced by a metonymy or metalepsis (substitution of cause over effect).84 In other words. but rather the effect of a rhetorical operation. the deconstruction of causality shows that cause cannot be easily seen as being logically and temporally prior to effect as conventional wisdom would have it. however. should be treated as the origin.

which also includes political action and experience in general)’.87 If neither cause nor effect can act as an origin then the notion of the origin is no longer originary: ‘a nonoriginary origin is a “concept” that cannot be comprehended by the former system and thus disrupts it’. Thus. as a form of border.89 Such possibilities are also determined in different situations. the hymen is not simply outside inside/outside. This form of writing referred to in the quotation above is known as ‘archewriting’ in Derridean terms. there are always traces of instability. Derrida further illustrates what he means by the ‘undecidable’ with a series of analogies. political or ethical. deconstruction unpacks binary logic to demonstrate that the terms within a supposed opposition are not mutually exclusive. Deconstructing the concept of the border In Positions. they are then ‘stabilised through a decision of writing (in the broad sense I give to this word. of meaning. but also of acts)’.91 One of these is the hymen which. As such. These determinations are determined pragmatically but. whether discursive. however. Again. Rather. initially separated. but mutually interdependent.Alternative Border Imaginaries 149 produces a significant displacement’. . this is shown in Culler’s example through the way in which cause and effect. Despite efforts of stabilisation through practices of arche-writing. then again. and mutually contaminated: the concept of the border invoked in any given binary is shown to be ‘undecidable’ and as such it displaces the dichotomous logic. The logic of cause/effect is haunted by the undecidable which Culler seizes upon to enact the displacement of the notion of origin. undecidability ‘is always a determinate oscillation between possibilities (for example.90 In Culler’s example above the rhetorical production of the pin as the cause of the pain is an instance of such stabilisation. Undecidability does not refer to ‘indeterminacy’ or confusion. The resisting and disorganising quality of undecidability denies the possibility that any term within an alleged binary opposition can be ‘pure’. neither can it be contained within that system of logic..88 Culler’s illustration demonstrates the way in which a rigorous border cannot be maintained between cause and effect. but. according to Derrida. are shown to be mutually implicated. is both part of the logic of inside/outside (in a general sense) and yet also neither itself strictly inside nor outside. as Derrida emphasises in Limited Inc.

its place is assigned in the structure by the mark of an emptiness. the fullest measure of presence. Another analogy Derrida uses to illustrate what he means by the undecidable is the concept of the supplement. . As a substitute.93 In this passage Derrida refers to the way in which the concept of the supplement acts as an illusion in the attempt to produce full presence. in a strange way.94 The second is published as a supplement to the first. a plenitude enriching another plenitude. is that the act of supplementation also reveals a lack in that which is supplemented: the supplement indicates what is lacking in that which is supplemented. Derrida’s point. it produces no relief. remaining part of it. Derrida gives the example of two dictionaries. this problematises the notion of the border that is presupposed to separate the two terms of the binary presence/absence.150 BORDER POLITICS Instead. In this way. On the one hand. however. if it fills. however. In this way Derrida uses the figure of the hymen to demonstrate that. Again. it is not simply added to the positivity of a presence. it is as if one fills a void. for since it is in excess. it is a surplus. albeit in a very particular and obscure context.92 On the other hand. the hymen disrupts the logic of inside/outside while. It cumulates and accumulates presence’. that which is supplemented is produced as an effect of the supplementation: it appears to be present as a result of the thing that supplements it. ‘the supplement is added to make up for a deficiency. In light of the above argument the second dictionary can be said to produce the first as a whole (‘bordered’) text in its supplementarity. By supplementing something with something else. the concept of the supplement implies a fullness of presence: ‘the supplement adds itself.95 Derrida’s discussion shows that the supplement is therefore undecidable: it disrupts and displaces the binary opposition between ‘presence’ and ‘absence’. but as such it reveals a lack. the supplement also supplements: It intervenes or insinuates itself in-the-place-of. […] The supplement is an adjunct […]. the border between inside and outside is impossible to maintain. which also serves to problematise the concept of the border in a general sense. the supplement can never be adequate to the lack’. The second dictionary also points out what words are lacking in the first dictionary.

The key point arising from Derrida’s notion of différance is that it shows how meaning may derive from difference but this difference is not one between static. According to Derrida. however. presence/absence). In this way. each part of which depends on and refers to others. Derrida highlights how the supposed border between speech and writing is impossible to maintain and ultimately breaks down.Alternative Border Imaginaries 151 The concept of the border is also problematised by Derrida in his use of the term différance. however. writing not only relates to but also affects and even changes speech.99 This point serves an important function in Derrida’s engagement with the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. Derrida argues. ‘inside’ can be said to rely upon ‘outside’ to be identified and so on. constantly referring. Binary oppositions presuppose a fixed notion of difference between the terms that comprise them (cause/ effect. of the spacing [espacement] by which elements relate to one another’. Saussure treats speech as if it were in some sense originary or authentic in terms of meaning and therefore a more immediate form of expression than writing. that language is not as stable as this structure implies: meaning is always already on the move. self-present elements. demands closer attention.97 The difference between différance and difference is not audible in French: whenever we say différance it is unclear or ‘undecidable’ whether or not we are referring to différance or merely saying the French word for ‘difference’. of traces of differences. Derrida captures this restless and relentless movement with the neologism différance. It follows that there is no fixed point according to which meaning is produced. inside/outside. final grasp of what is . In Positions Derrida refers to différance as ‘a structure and a movement that cannot be conceived on the basis of the opposition presence/absence […] the systematic play of differences. so that we never get a full.98 Hence. again. coherent or ‘bordered’. and differentiating and deferring.96 This strange term. Thus. the difference between différance and difference is clear only in the written form. which is a play on the French verb différer (to differ and to defer).100 On Derrida’s view. David Roberts captures what is at stake when he writes: Meaning is an endless web.101 On the contrary. writing is not somehow opposite and/or external to speech as the binary opposition between speech/writing suggests.

the supplement. it intervenes in ‘relations of force.107 Rather. happens. putting “out of joint”. if there be such a thing. coherent. Derrida insists. deconstruction is partly about never entirely accepting the ‘givenness’ of a context but problematising the borders that produce that context as supposedly separate from another context. Derrida writes.106 It is not even ‘a discourse. and différance has emphasised that . distinctions or separations upon which coherent. to pay the sharpest and broadest attention possible to context. an act. disjoining. ‘deconstruction. deconstruction is not a ‘theory’ as such. According to Derrida. in differences of force. it is what happens’. there is always further différance. or a practice’. context can never be considered somehow simple or secure: it is only ever secured through the production of hierarchies of signification within the entire field of meaning. and positive terms in language.105 Neither is it a philosophy nor a method that can be ‘applied’ to a particular empirical situation. ‘one of the definitions of what is called deconstruction would be the effort to take this limitless context into account. displacing. settled or given.111 In this way.152 BORDER POLITICS being referred to. precisely.104 In other words. disarticulating. Derrida problematises the concept of the border by highlighting how signs blur into one another rather than standing alone as self-present.112 Borders as frames of intelligibility So far. Meaning is always deferred.102 In this way.109 No matter how much something appears naturally sewn up. focusing on his treatment of the hymen. necessarily.103 Consequently. determinations in given situations to be stabilized’. Because meaning is always already caught in a movement of difference and deferral.110 Deconstruction consists of ‘dislocating.108 Elsewhere he comments: ‘deconstruction is the case’. logical and explanatory accounts of fundamentally imprecise phenomena are predicated. finitude or totalisation. a deconstructive ethos leads to ‘extreme complication’ of precise borders. Therefore. and thus to an incessant movement of re-contextualisation’. it is always produced in a limitless context of interpretation and reinterpretation which. the authority of the “is”’. the exploration of Derrida’s thought. denies the possibility of any sort of closure. in everything that allows.

then for Derrida. there is a degree of ambiguity concerning the separation of parerga from the ergon. according to Kant. the attempt to delimit context by drawing a border or frame always follows the logic of what he calls the parergon. the inscription of a border represents a move to delineate and attempt to secure an inside from an outside. parerga act as limiting devices at the edge of the ergon as a work/object to be judged. Derrida explores the way in which borders act as frames but. The relationship between parerga and the ergon is exemplified by colonnades in front of magnificent buildings and drapery around statues. straightforward givens. Derrida gives the example of the question: ‘Do you find this palace beautiful?’115 Any response has to discern the ‘intrinsic value’ of the palace on the one hand from the palace as a ‘function of extrinsic motives’. colonnades and drapery) centre or ground the ergon (that is. In his essay ‘The Parergon’ [1979]. In each case parerga (that is. magnificent buildings and statues) by means of a frame. As we have already seen.113 For Derrida. It allows for the internal or proper meaning of an object or work of art to be isolated from circumstances external to it. according to Derrida. Yet. however. the framed is included for judgement whereas the frame itself – and what lies beyond the frame – is excluded. in doing so.116 In other words. on the other. such as relations of economic production. This framing is necessary for all aesthetic judgement.Alternative Border Imaginaries 153 borders are not simple. . parerga do not belong to the ergon but are merely extrinsic to it. Rather. As well as highlighting this problematic.114 His use of the word parergon relates to Immanuel Kant’s writings in which. there is a general problematic of the border which deconstruction seeks to engage with rather than efface. it is not always clear what is proper and what is secondary to a work. parerga do belong to the ergon. This conditions the possibility of attempting to give meaning to the inside as a self-present entity defined against the outside. Derrida also encourages a reading of borders as frames of intelligibility that are inscribed in order to attempt to give meaning to something. he demonstrates how the activity of framing is always contingent and never quite succeeds in its attempt to delineate inside from outside. In this case. This relates to what we might call the undecidability of the frame: What is the place of the frame? Does it have a place? Where does it begin? Where does it end? What is its inner limit? What is its outer limit?117 If.

shows itself and disappears […] in its regular traversing of the eyelet. but the internal structural link by which they are inseparable from a lack within the ergon’. but in relation to these. it also arises at the outer limit: […] from the outside. it disappears into the other. the inside bound on the outside. because of the ‘internal structural link’ binding the parerga to the ergon. from inside to outside.119 While parerga are in some sense extrinsic to the ergon ‘it is not simply their exteriority that constitutes them as parerga. parerga cover over what would otherwise appear as a lack inherent within the ergon to which they are added. between right and left. in other words between the magnificent building and its colonnades or the statute and its drapery. from outside to inside.123 In this example the lace both constitutes and undermines the oppo- . Kant’s separation between ‘intrinsic’ and ‘extrinsic’ or ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ is challenged. In so doing.118 The difference here is subtle but of vital importance. by a law of structure. Crucially.121 Such a disappearance blurs the ergon into the milieu in which it is located: in other words limitless context.122 In The Truth in Painting [1987]. Derrida highlights that the incomprehensibility of the border of the object to be judged does not only appear at the inner limit between the parerga and the ergon. economic and political field of inscription in which the drive of the signature arises […] the parergonal frame is distinguished from two grounds. the underneath tied up on top. as well as from the entire historic. In effect this is a reiteration of the same argument Derrida makes with respect to supplementarity. Derrida shows that what is ostensibly outside (parerga) actually plays an important role inside (ergon) the object of Kant’s analysis. it makes the thing sure of its gathering. On Derrida’s view. Derrida further illustrates the undecidablility of the parergonal frame with reference to the lace of a shoe: In its rewinding passing and re-passing though the eyelet of the thing.154 BORDER POLITICS albeit in an extrinsic way. Derrida refers to the conjugated term parergon.120 Thus. on the exterior surface and under the interior surface […] it remains the ‘same right through’. from […] the space in which the statue or column stands.

in turn. it is difficult to speak of their ‘presence’. Such an approach ultimately leaves us wondering where the border ‘is’: ‘parerga have thickness’. The frame of a painting works in the same way: It cuts out but also sews back together. change and invention.126 Framing global politics/global politics reframed One way of thinking about the concept of the border of the state is to consider it precisely as a framing device. constrains and conceals particular practices in diverse spheres of contemporary political life including law. however. The attempted separation of the inside from the outside is hard to maintain. Derrida demonstrates that borders as frames are not fixed but rather a site of intrinsic instability. passes into it then out of it in order to sew it back on to its milieu.125 Derrida’s treatment of the parergon has implications far beyond a critique of Kant. What is ostensibly extrinsic always penetrates and thus determines that which is considered to be intrinsic. Every philosophical discussion on meaning in some way presupposes a discourse on the limit between an inside and an outside: a discourse on the border between inside and outside as a frame. As we have seen in previous chapters. violence. . authority and power which. a more dynamic approach to framing is implied: one that ends up slicing through the inside/outside dichotomy. citizenship and security relations. because they are not necessarily given in advance but rather drawn according to circumstance. however. On this basis. borders as frames might be described as ‘spectral’. as such. The frame they impose attempts to domesticate contingency in order to give meaning. enables.124 In each of these examples the parergonal frame is not geometrically fixed at the outer edge of the work but endlessly traversing inside and outside. Through an engagement with the figure of the parergon. territory. By an invisible lace which pierces the canvas […].Alternative Border Imaginaries 155 sition between inside and outside. In this way. In this way. onto its internal and external worlds. the concept of the border of the state. it frames particular understandings of the interrelationships between sovereignty. Consequently.

pluralise and radicalise the study of borders. offer some sense of fixity in the context of otherwise limitless fluidity. Viewed in these terms. while the concept of the generalised biopolitical border offers an alternative frame that problematises the modern geopolitical imaginary. in the final analysis. . On the other hand. Rather. the concept of the border of the state cannot be separated from global politics: the former is intrinsically a part of the latter in the same way that colonnades are inseparable from the building they stand in front of. Agamben’s theorisation of sovereign power leads to a dispersal of the border that separates inside from outside so that it can be seen as generalised across a globalised biopolitical terrain. global politics may proceed. As such. it must be seen as being fundamentally ‘thick’. Yet. following Derrida. On the one hand. constantly weaving inside and outside the inside/outside dichotomy it frames. the parergonal nature of the concept of the border means that it has never somehow only been located at the outer edge of the state. and thereby attempt to give meaning to the flow and flux of social and political life. In other words. as a parergonal frame. this concept offers an alternative frame to the concept of the border of the state which many writers in IR and related disciplines now regard as a problematic starting point for conceptualising practices in global politics that do not conform to the coordinates of the modern geopolitical imaginary (such as those outlined in Chapter 1). Reflecting what might be referred to as a shift in thinking from a geopolitical to a biopolitical horizon. the concept of the border of the state is parergonal to global politics: it operates as a discourse of the limit between inside and outside to tame contingency. one frame (the concept of the border of the state) is merely substituted by another (the concept of the generalised biopolitical border).156 BORDER POLITICS ascribed a particular set of meanings by the modern geopolitical imaginary. and practices in. delimits context to attempt to provide a sense of stability and permanence: a foothold on the basis of which diverse understandings of. On this basis. the generalised biopolitical border derived from Agamben’s work illustrates one way in which it might be possible to diversify. this concept may challenge the imperiousness of the concept of the border of the state as a frame in the practice/theory of global politics but. the concept of the generalised biopolitical border can also be read as a framing device. it fails to escape either a logic of inside/outside or the particular (and political) activity of framing. Furthermore.

unstable and violent. On the other hand. deconstructive analysis requires sensitivity to the way in which frames are used everyday through language and.128 According to Derrida. Further still. because the activity of framing is always contingent. a deconstructive perspective must ‘neither re-frame nor fantasise the absence of the frame’. the absence of a meta-frame means that no frame is impervious to deconstructive analysis: ‘deconstruction is the case’.Alternative Border Imaginaries 157 the worry is that the concept of the generalised biopolitical border can also be accused of trying to foist a sense of coherence. Immediately the problem here is that the terms of the question presuppose the existence of a ground of some kind – a set of criteria or metrics – according to which a given frame might be judged. shapeliness and form on global politics in the same way that the concept of the border of the state has done (and as the discipline of IR continues to reinscribe). In conventional social scientific inquiry an appeal to some notion of reality or empirical referent can be identified as acting as such a ground. amounts to a different type of framework. invested and interpreted: there is always a politics of reality. however. This means that any form of practice/theory ultimately relies . it will not do simply to wish this activity away: some form of closure is necessary for anything to happen and so we need frames. appeals of this nature are sorted. merely switching one problematic frame (for example. the concept of the border of the state) for another (for example.129 In other words. the concept of the generalised biopolitical border). It is precisely because of the fundamental absence of an absolute frame. In short. while the activity of framing never works because of infinite context. On the one hand. the work of deconstruction is to negotiate between two competing imperatives. while prompting a critique of the concept of the border of the state. As Derrida has shown. there are always frames. and each one is contestable and politically charged: paraphrasing Derrida. a meta-frame according to which all other frames might be judged better or worse than others.127 In other words. the concept of the generalised biopolitical border. there is always a politics of framing. or be satisfied with. that there is a need for the activity of framing in the first place. deconstructive analysis should not aspire to. Recognising that the concept of the border of the state and the concept of the generalised biopolitical border are two different types of frame calls into question whether one can be considered ‘better’ than another.

for Derrida. distinctions and separations to try to make sense of contemporary political life. for example. Second. as we have seen in relation to the use of the concept of the border of the state. it is always produced in a limitless context of interpretation and reinterpretation which. the adoption of one frame or another is always something that cannot be fully justified and is therefore open to the possibility of unending scrutiny. The implications of Derrida’s account of what I have called the politics of framing can be summarised as follows. this is not necessarily something to lament. the use of a particular frame to try to make sense of contemporary political life must be seen as a political move. different frames in global politics do not simply produce different representations of global politics. In other words. Third. A deconstructive ethos is to show how. Although borders continually break down. however. distinctions and separations. with important ethical and political ramifications. On this basis. this is reflected in the counter-response to Prozorov given by Edkins and Pin-Fat: that their reading of Agamben leads to ‘a politics of decisioning and particular distinctions’. debate and/or contestation. of invoking borders. no matter how established or settled a given frame appears to be. they are nevertheless necessary. Therefore. It must be reiterated.158 BORDER POLITICS upon line drawing: even a mode of thinking that advocates the refusal of drawing lines. his accounts of the activity of sovereign power and the prospects for resistance against it do not overcome a reliance on borders.130 In this way. What this means is that the politics of framing must be marked and negotiated as such. necessarily. First. Interestingly. despite Agamben’s insistence on the necessity of adopting a logic of the field. my own elaboration of the concept of the generalised biopolitical border can be read as a political act using the work of a variety of theorists to articulate an alternative imaginary to that dominated by the concept of the border of the state. that. part of the work of deconstruction is to expose practices of framing in order that particular frames might be interrogated and/or resisted as contingent outcomes: as borders drawn to provide comfort and security in the otherwise meaninglessness of the flux. any form of framing constitutes praxis in its own right. The activity of framing. is not divorced from global politics but fundamentally part of it. in the absence of a meta-frame or absolute standard. .

8. 16. Ibid. 116. p. 112. 2005. 113. Kalyvas. Agamben. ‘The Geopolitics of Geopolitical Space’. 40. 2004. p. 12. ‘The Irregular Migrant as Homo Sacer’. 2005. See Caldwell. 9. Caldwell. What is Philosophy?. ‘Foreign Terror’. p. 2004. 22. 2004. Bulley. ‘I am sure that you are more pessimistic than I am’. Norris.. p. 2008. ‘Giorgio Agamben and the Politics of the Living Dead’. Kumar Rajaram and Grundy-Warr. 94. 58–9. 27. 121. pp. Fourth. 2003. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. 21. p. p. Wall. it is necessary perpetually to return to. NOTES 1. 123. Precarious Life. 14. Ibid. p. 4. ‘Whatever Politics’. deconstruction implies the need for a constant questioning of frames. 2002. p. 11. ‘Bio-Sovereignty and the Emergence of Humanity’. question and realise the limitations of framings in global politics which any further uptake of the concept of the generalised biopolitical border must necessarily embrace. Edkins. 2000. For parallels with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s view of the task of philosophy see Deleuze and Guattari. 2004. p. 13. p.. Agamben. 5. . Means Without End. 6. Walker. pp. 19. 61–2. 116. 17. ‘The Sovereign Weaver’... 7 (emphasis added). 18. ‘The Complexity of Sovereignty’. 7. Ibid. human’. 2004. 2005. 2008. p. 2. p. 2004. p. 1997. 5. 1987. 2. Ibid. 1993. ‘Au Hasard’. humanity. Ashley. 10. ‘Humanitarianism. Radical Thought in Italy. ‘On Security and Terror’. 70. Agamben. Connolly. Virno and Hardt. Inside/outside. Ibid. Edkins. finitude or totalisation. 15. Žižek. 20. as well as vigilance towards diverse practices of framing. ‘I am sure that you are more pessimistic than I am’. it is necessary continually to reflect on the frames used to try to make sense of global politics and project these reflections into our analyses. 3. On this basis.Alternative Border Imaginaries 159 denies the possibility of any sort of closure. 1994. Agamben. Following this ethos. 2007. ‘Bio-Sovereignty and the Emergence of Humanity’. p. 2003. 123. Butler.

Resistance’. 42. 29. p. 1993. The Coming Community. 2000. Power. Edkins and Pin-Fat. ‘Introduction: Life. 75–6. Agamben. Edkins and Pin-Fat. 58. 2004. Power. 1. p. ‘Introduction: Life. . p. 30. 26.. 28. Ibid. Ibid. ‘I am sure that you are more pessimistic than I am’. 2005. Agamben. 2005.. 1996. ‘X/Xs’. Resistance’. 36. ‘Introduction: Life. Agamben. ‘Through the Wire’. 31. 2004. 73–92. 122. ‘Introduction: Life. 1996. p. ‘Through the Wire’. 139 (emphasis added). Ibid. Power. Means Without End. 33. Agamben. 12. Agamben. 2007 40. p. p. Ibid. Resistance’. 15. 55. p. 32. Agamben. 143. 12. 45. p. Ibid. Edkins and Pin-Fat. Ibid. p. 13. 67. 92. Means Without End. 27. 151. p. 41. Edkins and Pin-Fat. 25. 2004. Edkins. Edkins and Pin-Fat. pp. p. Resistance’. pp. 39. 2000. p. 50. 2004. Edkins. ‘Form-of-Life’. 51. 54. 2005. 2004. Means Without End. 24. Agamben. 104. Agamben. 17. Power. Resistance’. 2000. 49. 44. 2005. Ibid. 2005. Prozorov. 78. p. ‘Introduction: Life. ‘Through the Wire’. The Coming Community.160 BORDER POLITICS 23. Edkins and Pin-Fat. The Time That Remains. Ibid. p. p. 51. 38. Ibid. Agamben. 2007. ‘Form-of-Life’. p. p. Ibid. 47. 35.. 2004. Agamben. ‘Say No to Bio-Political Tattooing’. 2005. 37. Ibid. Means Without End. 57. 86. 48. 46. p. ‘We Refugees’. 56. p. 2007. Profanations. Edkins and Pin-Fat. Ibid. 52. ‘Form-of-Life’. Edkins. The Coming Community.. Power. ‘Whatever Politics’. 60.. 2004. 59. Ibid. 1993. ‘Whatever Politics’. 34. p. 138. Agamben. 2007. ‘Through the Wire’. Ibid. 1996. 43. Agamben. 86. 53. 123. 1993. 104. Agamben. ‘Whatever Politics’.

.. p. Derrida. 161 Edkins and Pin-Fat. 41. ‘Through the Wire’. 93. 2004. . 96. Ibid. Derrida. p. 84. pure or self-present. 98. 79. 14. 64. p. 2000. This point also calls into question the assumed tendency to privilege ‘speech’ over ‘writing’ in Western thought as if it were more direct.. pp. Derrida. Derrida. 1981. 92. Ibid. Ibid. p. 81. 40–5. Deconstruction: A Reader. Ibid.. pp. 76.. 90. On Deconstruction. 18. 34. 88. p.Alternative Border Imaginaries 61. 73. 144. 1981. Edkins. 80. Derrida. 68. p.. pp. p. Culler. 88. 97. 94. 90. McQuillan.. 63. Ibid.. 89. 91.. p. 1979. 88–90. Ibid. Of Grammatology. 74. 86–7. Ibid. ‘Introduction: Life. p. ‘Whatever Politics’. p. 87.. 86. 40–1. 2007. 13. 77.. 82. 2005. 83. 65. pp. 1985. Ibid. 1982. 38–9.. Derrida. Positions. Ibid. p. Ibid. Ibid. 14. 70. p. Positions. 95. Ibid. Derrida. 78. p. p. 34. Power. Derrida. 1981.. pp. Positions. p. 86. Positions. p. Ibid. 13. Ibid. Resistance’. 75. Ibid. 1987. 72. p. Ibid. Derrida. ‘Différance’. 66. 71. Ibid (emphasis added). Derrida. p. 1988. 99. 145. 85. Ibid. 69. ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’. p. unmediated. Ibid. 1981.. 67. 21. Limited Inc. Edkins and Pin-Fat. 1988. 87. 1997. 1988. Limited Inc. Limited Inc. Derrida. 16. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 18 (emphasis added). 62. ‘The Supplement of Copula’.. 148. 21.

26. pp. Nothing But History. 1990. 1995. Ibid. 85. Ibid. Course in General Linguistics.. 108.. 25. Derrida. Derrida. Limited Inc. 117. 113. p. p. p. 127. 28. ‘Deconstruction and the Other’. . 196. 136. 119. 2002. p. Limited Inc. 152–3. p. Derrida. Derrida. 110. ‘Some Statements and Truisms’. p.162 100. 1998. 107. Derrida. 130. p. 102. Derrida... 129. 115. 27–65. Limited Inc. Ibid. Derrida. p. 15. 61. p. p. ‘The Parergon’. ‘Introduction: Life. Derrida. 2004. Derrida.. 1990. 118. 1979.. p. ‘Some Statements and Truisms’. Limited Inc. ‘As if I were dead’. p. 122.. Ibid. 1968. 1990. 85. 85. 125. 22. 116. ‘Deconstruction: the Im-Possible’. 105. Roberts. ‘Politics and Friendship’. Edkins and Pin-Fat. p. ‘Force and Signification’. 20. Ibid. 1997. Derrida. Derrida. 1990. 223. ‘Some Statements and Truisms’. p. Derrida.. 1988. 1988. 2003. Dronsfield. 121. Ibid. 1979. Ibid. 126. 1996. 124. 120. 106.. p. 2002. 85. Ibid. 2002. Power.. The Truth in Painting. p. 128. Derrida. Resistance’. p. 299. ‘The Parergon’. 112. 2001. 1988. p. p. 128. 104. 304. Derrida. Derrida. pp. 111. Ibid. Derrida. 61. p. 109. BORDER POLITICS De Saussure. Derrida. ‘Some Statements and Truisms’. 12. 114. p. 148. 24. p. Derrida. ‘The Parergon’. ‘After Parerga’. 1979. 123. 101. Of Grammatology. 103. p. 217. 1995. 35.

and their democratically elected government. where President Mikhail Saakashvili launched an aerial bombardment and ground attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Friday 8 August. the world’s attention was drawn towards the escalation of conflict in Georgia.2 The United States and her allies stand with the people of Georgia. In response. images of the spectacular opening ceremony of the Games were overshadowed by live footage of Georgian troops taking control of Tskhinvali.CONCLUSION On the eve of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. We have Russian tanks on our territory. the South Ossetian capital. This is a clear intrusion on another country’s territory.000 or so people who had accepted the offer of Russian citizenship. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke of the need to protect the interests of the 70. We insist 163 . Georgia sought to regain control of its disputed territory and called for international support against the presence of the Russian military within its borders. The following day. Seeking to justify bombing raids over South Ossetia and throughout greater Georgia. together with the mobilisation of Russian armed forces into the region.’ 1 The intrusion of Russian forces into Georgian territory was denounced on similar grounds by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and United States President George W. Arguments about the sanctity of Georgia’s borders and the principle of territorial integrity were quickly deployed by President Saakashvili: ‘Russia is fighting a war with us in our own territory. jets on our territory in broad daylight. Bush respectively: The territorial integrity and belonging of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Georgia can never be put under doubt.

what we might call traditional geopolitical conflict over territorial borders is still very much a part of contemporary political life. with bitter historically embedded disagreements concerning the alignment between people. as the summer of violence in Georgia illustrates all too brutally. he argued that his country’s foreign policy must first and foremost protect its citizens in South Ossetia for whom the current border settlement was not adequate: Russia does not reject the principle of territorial integrity but its foreign policy will take into account the will of the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. and Moscow must honour its pledge to withdraw all its invading forces from Georgian territory. as a dominant framing in . On the contrary. this concept has acted.164 BORDER POLITICS that Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected. our peacekeepers. together with more conventional inside/outside ways of thinking. responses to the conflict by the international community have been framed by notions of the sanctity of territorial possession and inviolability of state borders. who are unlikely to want to remain in the same state with Georgia.5 The argument of this book has not been that borders between states are obsolescent or that the modern geopolitical imaginary no longer matters in global politics.4 As the various leaders issued statements on a daily basis. nation and territory. as demonstrated in Chapters 1.3 Nevertheless. On this basis. the location of the international border between Georgia and Russia is at the heart of the South Ossetian crisis. large numbers of South Ossetians fled their homes. the Georgian towns of Gori and Senaki were left ravaged. Furthermore. and a significant but ultimately unknown number of civilians are reported to have died. as the above quotations serve to illustrate. If someone continues to attack our citizens. while Russian President Dimitry Medvedev claimed to respect the cornerstone of the United Nations Charter. it would be churlish to suggest that the concept of the border of the state. 2 and 3. Clearly. has somehow lost its pertinence in today’s world. then of course we will answer just as we did. and continues to act. Indeed.

it is also imperative that border studies adopts a more sophisticated conceptualisation of what and where borders are. border studies runs the risk of (re)producing an outdated paradigm of analysis that is unable to keep pace with the diversification of bordering practices in global politics. On this basis. constrains and legitimises. As the examples in Chapter 1 demonstrate. This is no easy task because many of the theories. Moves towards integrated border security in the UK. Such neglect has been particularly conspicuous in the discipline of IR which. but nevertheless take for granted. By contrast. territory and power. interrogate and/or resist such practices which remain obscured by the dominant frame. while the continued significance of the concept of the border of the state is not in dispute. it is possible to identify a proliferation of bordering practices in contemporary political life that complicates the modern geopolitical imaginary. Otherwise. electronic and peripatetic. theorising and understanding this concept as a particular frame in global politics allow for an interrogation of the array of practices it enables. Yet. I have argued that it is necessary to attempt to think outside the modern geopolitical imaginary. European and American contexts suggest departures from conventional thinking about the nature and location of borders. in order to diversify. pluralise and radicalise our understanding of what studying borders today might mean. this framing and the modern geopolitical imaginary it supports rely upon and reproduce specific notions about the intrarelationship between violence. as shown in Chapter 3. as we have seen. however. the work that the concept of the border of the state does has been somewhat under-theorised. the fine lines depicted on Mercator’s map belie the increasing complexity and thickness of bordering practices. As many scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds have also argued. categories and . Moreover. has had a tendency to produce theoretical analyses of global politics that are dependent upon. a particular understanding and use of the concept of the border of the state.Conclusion 165 both the theory and practice of global politics. The danger is that an approach to the study of borders that reads the concept of the border of the state only in the context of the modern geopolitical imaginary is one that is ultimately unable to identify. While there is certainly a continued need for detailed case studies of traditional border sites understood to be located at the geographical outer edge of the state. so that they are now evermore offshored.

Agamben’s diagnosis of the operation of sovereign power offers an array of spatio-ontological devices. is predicated upon the performative act of suspending law to create a zone of indistinction in which sovereign power produces a form of life amenable to its sway: bare life. however. the production of . and not merely confined to the outer edges of sovereign territory but more and more generalised throughout a global biopolitical terrain.6 Once this reconfigured view of the relation between sovereignty and subjectivity is adopted. such as the ban. Thinking in terms of the biopolitical generalised border highlights and confronts the contingency of the juridical–political order. this book has argued that critical resources for developing alternative border imaginaries can be found in the work of Giorgio Agamben. railway stations and spaces of exception throughout everyday life. born of the exception. This order. Walker and Weizman. with which it is possible to articulate how borders are intimately linked to the bodies of those in transit. New ways of conceptualising resistance emerge based around the notion of inoperativity and the attempt to jam the sovereign biopolitical machine by turning its own logic against it. responding to interdisciplinary calls for alternative border imaginaries from writers such as Balibar. The ‘proper’ subject of sovereign power is recast: not the modern bordered sovereign citizen but the ‘mute carrier of sovereignty’ defined not by rights but by exposure to the decision on whether it is human life deemed worthy of living as such. are not only confined to traditional border crossings but detention camps. the concept of the generalised biopolitical border offers both a means of identifying and of engaging critically with them. Agamben’s diagnosis of the activity of sovereign power calls for analyses of the changing methods and locations of the production of bare life which. then alternative possibilities for thinking about ethical–political praxis are opened up. This way of thinking is blind to these dynamics whereas. as we have seen. Seeking to contribute to nascent moves away from a geopolitical towards a biopolitical paradigm of analysis. Furthermore. the camp and a ‘logic of the field’. as mobile as the subjects they seek to control.166 BORDER POLITICS concepts we might use to critique the modern geopolitical imaginary are themselves part of that very horizon of thought. These features of bordering practices in contemporary political life are not otherwise locatable on the radar of conventional border studies reliant upon – and reproductive of – the modern geopolitical imaginary.

the suspicion. The most recent.7 Writing in 1938. Have any cheque or credit card transactions made you suspicious?’).) What the campaign does not tell us is what it is about getting a refund. as with the MTA example. being near a river. is generalised and objectless. the use of vehicles (‘Terrorists need transport. Six posters call for vigilance. Under the banner ‘If you see something. ‘good’ citizens were enjoined to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. domestic storage (‘Terrorists need storage. everybody will be in the position of having to play detective. targeting: financial activity (‘Terrorists need funding. owning a white van. If you live or work on the river. For example. when everyone is something of a conspirator. the London Metropolitan Police (the ‘Met’) has led a series of similar campaigns in the United Kingdom. it can lead to many more problems. Are you suspicious of your tenants or neighbours?’) (See figure 3. Rather. Judith Butler has highlighted how the imperative for ‘good’ citizens to be on the lookout for ‘risky subjects’ constitutes a ‘potential licence for prejudicial perception’. Has a vehicle sale or a rental made you suspicious?’). including the very dynamics it presumably seeks to overcome. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 11 September 2001. led with the banner: ‘If you suspect it. it is not at all clear that this sort of approach is successful in accomplishing its expressed goals. On the contrary. fosters mutual resentment and reinstates divisions along racial lines. Walter Benjamin claimed that: ‘In times of terror.Conclusion 167 bare life is a bordering practice that can involve citizens as well as government officials and this has particular significance in the context of the ‘War on Terror’.10 . Are you suspicious of anyone using garages. has anything made you suspicious?’).9 Butler argues that the cultivation of an objectless suspicion translates into a ‘virtual mandate to heighten racialised ways of looking and judging in the name of national security’ which. in turn.’ 8 Reflecting Benjamin’s insight of seventy years ago. say something’. and apartment blocks (‘Terrorists need places to live. report it’. the Thames (‘Terrorists could use the river. from January 2006 to March 2007. While the stated aim of both campaigns in New York and London is to achieve greater ‘security’. lock-ups or storage space?’). using a garage or living in a block of flats that is particular to terrorist activity. in 2007 the New York Metropolitan Transport Agency (MTA) ran a poster and radio advertisement campaign called ‘The Eyes of New York’.

report it’ campaign. January 2006 .168 BORDER POLITICS Figure 3 ‘If you suspect it.

in the airports. the task for the future of border studies. it is through the attempt to cultivate ‘citizen-detectives’ that the central dynamics of the war on terror are (re)produced: dynamics that are not localised in the conflict zones of Afghanistan and Iraq but identifiable throughout everyday life in Europe and the West more generally. Agamben’s reference to the figure of homo sacer in Roman law reveals the ancient roots of biopolitical bordering practices but it is necessary to detect how borders get (re)produced differently from one historical and geographical context to another. On the one hand. following Benjamin. On the contrary. on the street. Of course. a certain form of ‘indefinite containment’ permeates public culture ‘outside the prison walls. as well as in news media coverage enable innovations in the ways in which sovereign power attempts to secure itself both temporally and spatially. as discussed in Chapter 5. is not to attempt to develop new ways of thinking that try to ‘escape’. usually of non-white appearance. On the other hand. Applying the thought of Derrida. Rather.11 Furthermore. this concept should not be considered as a straightforward replacement for the concept of the border of the state. the racialisation of suspicion translates into acts of violence in these otherwise ‘normal’ everyday settings – as demonstrated by the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell Station. Irrespective of the numbers of people who actually call anti-terror hotline numbers.Conclusion 169 In this way. it might be rightly pointed out that many of these dynamics are not ‘new’: Benjamin’s writings point to the historical legacies within which current practices must be located. the campaigns of the MTA and London Met illustrate how a politics of affect is employed in the ongoing ‘War on Terror’. each with particular ethical– political implications. as we have seen. she claims. as I see it. in the workplace’. the added value of the concept of the biopolitical generalised border is that it offers an alternative account of the limits of sovereign power to one reliant upon the modern geopolitical imaginary. as depoliticised subjects whose normal recourse to conventional provisions in politics and law are suspended in favour of national security objectives. ‘go beyond’ or ‘move outside’ the inside/outside problematic. Developments in technology. however. Indeed. what we are dealing with here are different framings of global politics. The cultivation of citizendetectives corresponds with attempts to produce others. on the subway. such attempts are always already destined to failure as they .

Butler. 8. Means Without End. Benjamin. 31. Ibid. 7. ‘Georgia Conflict’. 4. p. 11. For a recent collection of essays that explore the role of citizens in what Chris Rumford has called ‘borderwork’. p. 13. 2008. Ibid. 5. ‘The Paris of the Second Empire’. . and who benefits from. Agamben. 77. a Derridean-inspired approach is one that urges the incessant identification and perpetual deconstruction of the multiple practices of inside/outside in order to interrogate what is enabled by. Ibid. 9. BBC News Online. Instead. see Rumford. NOTES 1. 2008. 2003 [1938]. Ibid. Ibid. 3. p. 2.170 BORDER POLITICS only ever serve to reproduce an inside/outside logic. 6. 10. Ibid. Citizens and Borderwork in Contemporary Europe. 2000. Precarious Life. 2004. diverse border politics.

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167–9. 166–9 imperialist 84–5 inside/outside model. 58–9 biopolitical approach. 16. 39. 15. 114 as frames. 112–17. Mathias. security border imaginaries. 158 modern geopolitical imaginary. 59. 158. 29 Amoore. Thomas. 123–4. 166. 58–9. 9–10. 122–3 binary oppositions (deconstruction). 131–46. 112–17. 85–6. 9/11 see September 11 attacks 22/7 see Menezes. see also security. 33–4. 16–24. 38–44. 18. 100–2. Nafeez. 113–17 Foucault. 6–7. 79–81. 44–61. 38. 132–46. 123–4. 14. Étienne. 156–9. 58–9 Amsterdam Treaty. 16–28. 9–10. 114–17. 103–7. Agamben’s concept of. 138. 143. 89 as épokhè. 136–8. 99 bare life. 33. 132–4. 88 generalised biopolitical border. 7. 132–3. 26. 56–9. 98 Ashley. 167. 71–2. 14–15. 117–18. 105. 151–2 as empire. 165 borders biometric. 144–6. 102–6. 97.. see also bordering practices. 118 Airline Liaison Officers. 58–60 Agamben. 96–124. 101–2. concepts of deconstructed. concept of. 76 Agamben. 45–6 Anderson. 142–3 authority see power. 166–9 Agnew. 7. 68–9. 26. 47–8 anti-terrorism. 58–9 electronic. 107. 53 asylum seekers. 130–59. 156–9. Louise. 29–32. 152–9 generalised biopolitical borders. 123–4. 70–1 as exceptional territory. 25 Anarchical Society. 140–2 Blair. 169 Berlin Wall. Abbas. 164–6 zones of indistinction. 17–28. Didier. 146–52 biometric borders. 3–4. 112. 99. 1. 98. 111. Giorgio. 42–4. 131–46. 73–4. 107–9. 108–9. 4–10. 14–15. 97–101. 114–17. 140–2 see also border imaginaries border studies. 111. 166–9 bios. 19 Albert. 54–9 logic of the field. Walter. 58–9 biometrics. 44–5 Bigo. 132–6. 112–14. Sir Ian. sovereignty Balibar. 142–3 Amnesty International. The (Bull). 26–8. see also border of the state.INDEX Note: page numbers in italics refer to pages with illustrations. 41–4. 123–4. 14. John. 117 ban. Malcolm. 107. 141–3. Richard K. 156. 166–7 Benjamin. 50–1 America see United States Amini. 116–17 Aristotle. 97–100. 1–3. 23. concepts of border of the state. 123 185 . 56–8. 117–24. 38 Biersteker. 20–1. 99–100. 132 Ahmed. Jean Charles de Africa. 122 border controls. 34. 8–9. war on terror archipelago. 67–8. 165 bordering practices.

107. Sergio. 27. 156. 28. 38 exception. 6–7. 43 ‘Critique of Violence’ (Benjamin) 67–8. 26 deconstruction. 83–91 épokhè. states of. Jacques. 147–9 Dalby. Hedley. 124 ‘Declaration on Combating Terrorism’. 109 Culler. 3. 5. 89 thickness of. 72–4. 138 detention. 21 colonial occupation. 163–4 Butler. 83 force see violence . Ferdinand. 30 ‘Council Declaration on the EU Response to the London Bombings’. 23 Caldwell. 146–52. 157 Defence of the Realm Act (UK). 135 Bush. 146–59. 104. Jonathan. 68–9. 79–80 Donnan. 105–6. 29–32. William. concepts of Borders Act (UK). 158 field of security. Bülent. Albert. 123. Judith. 68. The (Williams). 144–6. 33. 16 Borger. 167. 59–60 see also border of the state. 136 Constitutional Dictatorship: Crisis Government in the Modern Democracies (Rossiter). 28 cause/effect (deconstruction). 112. 68–72. Pierre. 18–20. 77. 83–8 Empire (Hardt and Negri). 85–6. 32. 132 ‘Critical Geopolitics: Discourse. 98–9. 26–8 capitalism. 4 Brown. 23 economic migration see migration economy. 4–5. 140–6. 73–4. 15–34. 16 ‘Borders. Nikolai. 83 Bull. 33 BORDER POLITICS de Boulainvilliers. 28. 134 civil liberties. 57–8 Finance Capital: A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development (Hilferding). 38 e-Borders Programme. 121. concept of. 135 camp. Jenny. the. 58 Boulainvilliers. 8. 10. 108–17 exceptional territory. 49–50 EU see European Union European Union. 98–9. 133. 109 Constitutional Government and Democracy (Friedrich). states of. 115. 165 vacillation of. 98. 135 Connolly. 43 data capture. 151 Dean. logic of the. 45–6 Bulley. 113. 133 Dick. see also globalisation Edkins. 78 Britain see United Kingdom Brown. 135 Canary Islands. Henri de. 24–8. 55–6. 111. 6–7. 55. 155. 114 field. 109 Einstein. see also e-Borders Programme emergency. Difference and Dissent’ (Dalby). 106–7. 133. 19–20. 115–16 concentration camps. 169 de Saussure. 105 Department of Homeland Security (US). 121–2. Julian. 151–2 Dikken. 19–22. 75 decision-making. 26 critical geopolitics. Gordon.. 70–1 Ethics of Territorial Borders: Drawing Lines in the Shifting Sand. 115 disciplinary power (Foucault). Dan. 15. 119 différance (Derrida). 117–24. 165 offshoring of. 78 de Menezes. Mitchell. 100–2. 33 presence/absence of. 83 Carrera. Henri. 110 Deleuze. 169–70 de-subjectification. 66. Anne. 18–20. Jean Charles. 61. 4 Boudieu. 158 ‘Eighth Book on the Concept of History’ (Benjamin). 136. 101 electronic bordering. George W. Simon. Hastings. 23. 137.186 location of. 113–15. Gilles. identity. Cressida. indefinite. 148–9 citizenship. 72–4. 169 Cabinet Office (UK). 41–4. see also states of exception Emergency Powers Act (UK). 101 ‘Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies’ (Einstein). 16 Bukharin. global. 106. 58 Derrida. 110 empire. 109 Convention against Torture. Chris. 72–4. Immigration and Identity Action Plan’.

48–9 . Robert. 100 Germany. 156–9. 124. 40 geopolitics. Daniel. 83–91. 30–1 international law. 26. 97 framing devices. Barry. 4. 17–19. 33 identity documents. 54–9 integrated border security. mobility immigration control see border controls imperialism. 9–10. 104 International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). 97 Home Office (UK). 3. 109 Frontex. see also asylum seekers. 163–4 German Law Review. 83 Hindess. 29–32. 114–17. 28 Hilferding. 16 Global Covenant: Human Conduct in a World of States. 4–5. 77–82. 111. The (Foucault).. 19. Michel. 47–8 generalised biopolitical borders. 59. 30. 77. 166–9 Geneva Convention. 24–8 Frontiers: Territory and State Formation in the Modern World (Anderson). 41–4 ‘Geopolitics and Discourse: Practical Geopolitical Reasoning in American Foreign Policy’ (Ó Tuathail and Agnew). Orders: Re-Thinking International Relations Theory (Albert. 169. 96. 33. 83 inclusion and exclusion. 20–1 identity life cycle. 133 Hardt. 66–7 History of Sexuality. 118 inside/outside (deconstruction). 50–1 identity. 103. 83. 7. 123–4. C. 68–72 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK). 29–32. Jacobson. 113–14. 105–6. 38–9. 75. 26–8. 103–5. 20–2 identity data capture. 29 IPCC see Independent Police Complaints Commission IR see International Relations Jackson. 25–6 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 104 geography. 23 Foucault. 27 HERA II (Frontex operation). 152–9 Friedrich. 112–13. 131–46. 98. Michael. 48–9 global economy. 130 Heller-Roazen. 142 inclusive exclusion. 52 inside/outside model. Volume 1: The Will to Power. 114–15. 88–9. 97–8. 17. 133 Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). 135–6 globalisation. 23. 4–5. Borders. critical. Lapid). The (Jackson). 23 homo sacer. 17. 165 interrogation. political. 31 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 30–2 International Relations theory. 30–2. The (Prescott). 98. 17–18 Guantánamo Bay. 83 Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism (Lenin). 3. 84–5 Imperialism and World Economy (Bukharin). 42–3 Georgia. see also bare life Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Agamben). 112–13 indefinite detention. 8–9. 21–2 immigration. 19–22. 149–52 Inside/outside: International Relations as Political Theory (Walker). Rudolf. concept of. 21. 134–5 187 ICCPR see International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICERD see International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination ICJ see International Court of Justice ICRC see International Committee of the Red Cross Identities. 108. see also globalisation global security relations. 133–6.Index ‘Force of Law: The Mystical Foundations of Authority’ (Derrida). 136 human rights. 103 HERA I (Frontex operation). 109 Glasgow airport attack. 30 International Court of Justice (ICJ). 72–3. 44–61. 41 Geography of Frontiers and Boundaries. 17.

110. 4–5. Véronique. 153–4 philosophy. and History’ (Foucault). 146. 41–4. 115–16 Negri. 158 policing. 7. 8–10. 38–44. David. 77–8 power relations.. 138–9 Medvedev. see also sovereignty Power/Knowledge (Foucault). Carsten. Anssi. 136. 121–2 Mbembe. 109 ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’ (Derrida). 39 BORDER POLITICS ‘Nietzsche. Immanuel. (Derrida). 40 political geography. 15.188 Jacobson. 67–77. 17. The (Schmitt). 150 presence/absence of borders. 45 Newman. bios. 115–16 Means Without End: Notes on Politics (Agamben). 96. see also bare life. 169 migration. David. 149–52 post-structuralist thought. 3. 121–2. 29–30. 165 location of borders. 114 Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum. 140. Jean Charles de. 57. 144–6. V. 39. 123 Putin. 164–6 Nancy. 33 ‘On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies’ (Einstein). 18. Joseph. Gearóid. 61. 100. 50–1 Laustsen. Claudio. 110 Minca. 68. 143 Lenin. 78 nomos. 41 Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (Schmitt). 163 . 153–5 Kolossov. 17–28. 164 Menezes. 50–1 Joint e-Borders Operations Centre. 19 parerga (deconstruction). 146. The’ (Derrida). 14. 69–70. 142. Achille. Andrew. 41–4. 26 Massumi. and politics. 59–60. 29–32. 89 Problem of Constitutional Dictatorship. 135 Madrid bombings. 156 ‘Parergon. 112. 75–7. 18–20. 20 Kalyvas. Andreas. Brian. 20 Prozorov. 101 Laffey. 85–6. 139 modern geopolitical imaginary. Genealogy. 153–5. as method of analysis. Stanford. 102. 133. 98 National Security Strategy (UK). 28. 41 Pin-Fat. 41 political science. Vladimir. 1–3. 84. 28. influence on border studies. 101–2. 75–7 Norris. 40 presence/absence (deconstruction). Vladimir. see also sovereignty Le Monde. 112. 18–20. 83 Les Pleins Pouvoirs (Tingsten). 149 limology. influence on border studies. 142 pre-emption. 59. politics of. 55–6. 132–4. 121–2. 39 paper documentation (identity). 140–6. Dimitry. 158 London bombings. 16. 40 ‘Kratos’ policy. Jean-Luc. 113. 101 Ó Tuathail. 8–9 profanation. 65–91 power. 58 Prescott. 83–91 neo-realist approaches. mobility ‘Military Order’ (US). The (Watkin). 124 Limited Inc. 165 logic of the field. 60–1. 122 pre-emptive bordering practices. 97–105. 111. 137–8 Project Iris. 144 Pugliese. 72–5 Positions (Derrida). zoe ¯ life cycle see identity life cycle lightning strike decisions. 107. 115 law. as means of resistance. Vladimir. J. 146 life. 109. Sergei. 117–24. 143 Möbius strip. 124 Kwinter. 117–24 polis. 115 mobility. 26. 100–2. 77–82. 133 nuda vita see bare life offshoring of borders. 109 problematisation. 145 Political Frontiers and Boundaries (Prescott). 33. 98. 136 Kant. Antonio. 132 Paasi. 14–15. see also immigration. Mark. 89 Lapid. 6–7. 22–4. 28. R. 138–9. 16 ‘Necropolitics’ (Mbembe). Yosef.

20. 16–24. Pin-Fat. 163–4 Sovereign Lives: Power in Global Politics (Edkins. 139 Special Theory of Relativity. 16–28. 109 Ruggie. 2. 28. 5. 132–5. 77–8. 108–9. 136–9 Suganami. 106–8. 98–100. 138 subjectivity. 25 Schmitt. 109 transformation of borders see vacillation of borders travel see mobility Treaty of Rome. 71 Single European Act.. 42 territory. Ferdinand de. 2. 79. 133–6. C. 134. 76. 151 Schengen Agreement. 16. 109–10 United Kingdom Border Agency. 32. 101–2. 137. 41 South Ossetia. 58. 76 ‘Revised EU Terrorism Action Plan’. 154–5 UK see United Kingdom UKBA see United Kingdom Border Agency UN see United Nations UNITED. 73–4. 74 Sarkozy. 75–7 189 spatial concepts empire as smooth space. 33. 104 United States. 80–1. 108–17 and subjectivity. 52–5. 46–7 Society Must Be Defended (Foucault). 112. 81 and violence. 155. 58. 16. 74 surveillance. 66–7 terrorism. 101 thickness of borders. The (Derrida). 5. 71. 61 sovereignty and bare life. 19–22. 167. 137–46 and states of exception. 29–31. 105–6. 163 Salter. 45 Russia. 69. see also anti-terrorism. John Gerard. war on terror ‘Security in a Global Hub: Establishing the UK’s New Border Arrangements’. 85–6 Möbius strip. 17 security relations.Index refugee.. 33 territorial trap. 26 United Kingdom. see also anti-terrorism. 25 ‘Smart Border Alliance’. 123 identity data capture. 107–8. 90 risk profiling. 28. 26. influence on border studies. 165 Time That Remains. 72–7. 138–9 refugees see asylum seekers resistance. figure of. 58–9 border controls. 163–4 Saakashvili. 132–3. 80. 41 Social Theory of International Politics (Wendt). 78–80 sociology. 29–32. 114 and law. 75–7. 72–4. H. 18–20. 108–17 and resistance. 73–7 and sovereignty. 58 Rossiter. 166 and borders of the state. 163–4 and borders. 102. 60–1. Mark. concepts of State of Exception (Agamben). influence on border studies. 98–9. Hidemi. 45 Theory of Relativity. 58. 6–7. 26. 19 United Nations. 98–9. 137–8 Tingsten. 22–3. 167 Shapiro. 60–1 empire as alternative form of. Carl. 163 Saussure. 14. 143 US see United States vacillation of borders. 136–46 Respublica Christiana. 15–34. 116. 59–60 . 25 Truth in Painting. 98–100. 18–19 electronic bordering. 14–15. 108–17 subjectification. 33–4 exceptional territory. 77. 112 ‘Securing the UK border: Our Vision and Strategy for the Future’. 23. Mikhail. 3. 135. 106–8. The (Agamben). 72–5. 26 revolution. 16. 83–90 limits of sovereign power. 61. Nicolas. 118–19 technology biometrics. 20–1. 16. 16–17 security. 96 states of exception. 58 social psychology. 98–100. 135–6 September 11 attacks. 3–4. Shapiro). 23. 156. 25 Schengen Information System. Michael. war on terror Theory of International Politics (Waltz). 56–9. concepts of see border of the state. 3. 32. 101 state borders. 166 and territory.

112–17. 97–100. Henk. 29–30. 135 zoe. B. 167–9. Thomas. John. 45 war. 132–3. 145–6 width of borders see thickness of borders Williams. 122–3. 60. 135–6 war on terror. 61. 109–10. Max. 2 Weimar constitution. 70–1. 109 Weber. security Watkin.. 7. 7. 58. 140–2 . 45. J.. 90–1 Waltz. 41 violence. 116–17 Weldes. 107–9. 101–2. F. Kenneth. 140–2 ¯ zones of indistinction. 142 Virno. 138. 89 Wendt. R. Eyal. 5. (Edkins). 136–8. dissolution of. 38 Žižek. 141 ‘Whatever Politics’. 112–14. 49–50 Wilson. 4. 140. 109. 130 Walker. 38 World Trade Center attack see September 11 attacks Yugoslavia. 51–6. 55. see also anti-terrorism. 102–6. 138–9. Slavoj. 72–3 Weizman. 46–7 BORDER POLITICS Westphalian system. 140–3. 66–72. Alexander. 50. Jutta. 107.190 van Houtum. Paolo. 50–1 ‘whatever being’.

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