Food for thought: Sovereign Power and Counter-Law

Promising Justice: The Becoming of Law and Society – Sovereign Power and Counter-Law

The second lecture in this sub-section will focus on the merger of sovereignty and governmentality, and on the concept of counter-law or ‘laws against law’. Counter-law represents a revision of the states of exception literature framework, focusing on the creative use of certain forms of law to circumvent legal barriers to preemptive actions. Case studies will include the US military base at Guantanamo and the Canadian security certificate regime.

Food for Thought:

  1. How does the theorization of KIHC presented by Larsen and Piché in their Canadian Journal of Law and Society article differ from Agamben’s theorization of the camp?*
  2. “Exceptional State, Pragmatic Bureaucracy, and Indefinite Detention” is a largely descriptive article. However, the authors also make a normative argument in opposition to the KIHC and to security certificates more generally. What is the nature of their normative argument? Do you agree or disagree? Explain.

Of interest: Kingston Immigration Holding Centre Closes, Legacy Remains (Prism Magazine)

* Note: ‘differ from’ does not mean ‘reject and replace’ – in this case, as with the works of Mbembe, Butler, and Ericson, the authors modify and expand upon Agamben’s theory.


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