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Seantel Anaïs. Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland

State of Terminal Exception: Biopolitics, Bare Life and the State of Exception at Vancouver International Airport

The article explores the strong intersection between police use of force, the biopolitical nature of modern rule, and security networks ostensibly charged with meeting defense needs in a “post 9/11 world”.  An analysis of  Giorgio Agamben’s discussion of “bare life” and “states of exception”provide the framework within which a recent death-in-custody at the Vancouver International Airport is examined for its biopolitical character.  Building on Agamben’s extension of Michel Foucault’s intellection of modern biopolitics, the article considers the ways in which the camp is maintained, reproduced, and disseminated throughout “secure areas” post-9/11. The article shows that the cascade of events leading up to Robert Dziekanski’s death in the secure area of the Vancouver International arrivals terminal resonates with Agamben’s representation of modern rule so faithfully that public or official reaction proportional to the injustice that it addresses is unlikely if not impossible. Echoing Agamben’s discussion of the concentration camp, the article asks not how the use of police force led to death in this case, but rather, what juridical apparatus allows all who enter secure areas (such as the air terminal) to be stripped of their human rights?  In particular, this article considers Dziekanski’s perceived state of agitation, or madness, to be a dominant factor in the biopolitical nature of his exchange with police.  The spatial/physical features of the secure international arrival area of the Vancouver International Airport, where Robert Dziekanski languished for ten hours before his altercation with police, are discussed with reference to their adherence (whether intentional or not) to a program of sensory deprivation. Additionally, Dziekanski’s movements within overlapping ‘territories of exception’: those that have emerged as “secure” environments post-9/11, and those that emerge in the apparently discomposed mind, are considered.  The article sees Dziekanski’s presence within these overlapping spaces of exception as the ultimate rational behind his deadly exchange with police, who make sovereign decisions on the bare life of subjects in mere moments.


Contesting Sanism 1: Political Strategizing for the 21st Century

Jeffrey Shantz. Criminology Department, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Madness, Anarchy: Autonomous Organizing, Self-Determination and the Coming Communities

The paper draws on theories of new social movements and new theories of citizenship to identify and discuss issues that emerge as central for understanding the significance of self-organization among psychiatric survivor groups. Discussion is also given to

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