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Bodies of ViolenceTheorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations$
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Lauren B. Wilcox

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384488

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384488.001.0001

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Dying Is Not Permitted

Dying Is Not Permitted

Guantánamo Bay and the Liberal Subject of International Relations

(p.49) 2 Dying Is Not Permitted
Bodies of Violence

Lauren B. Wilcox

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 turns to Guantánamo Bay, one of the most controversial sites of violence in contemporary International Relations, to argue that the political dynamics of the practices of torture, hunger striking, and force-feeding are not well explained in traditional IR theories. Rather, the violence of Guantánamo Bay reveals the ways in which the body is both the product of social and political forces as well as an agent of politics. Both hunger striking and force-feeding make use of the materiality of the body and its relationship to other bodies in a way that challenges liberal and biopolitical assumptions about bodies. Anxieties that constitute the paradox of sovereign power and biopower are manifested in the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners, an exercise of power that transforms prisoners from dangerous “enemy combatants” to a biopolitical subjectivity as recipients of care.

Keywords:   torture, Guantánamo, biopolitics, sovereign power, force-feeding, bodies

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