Larsen’s theorization of the of the Kingston Immigration Holding Center vs Agamben’s theory of the camp.

Larsen’s theorization of the of the Kingston Immigration Holding Center  and Agamben ‘s theory of the camp have similar and different view of the effects that a state can do when an emergency occurs. Firstly, Agamben’s theorization of the camp is a theory of normalized exceptionality. For Agamben the camp is the place that is created when the state of exception begins to become the rule. Moreover the state, can achieve all this through sovereign power. Additionally, the concept of the camp can explicate the legal space created by normalized exceptionality. The theorization of KIHC presented by Larsen and Piche in their Canadian Journal of Law and Society article states that the KIHC can be understood as spaces of normalized exceptionality. In addition, the main difference between the theorization of KIHC presented Larsen and Piche are the zones and the spaces of the prisons. Exceptional practices and organizational mandates are discussed by Larsen and Piche because sovereign power and counter law allow extraordinary actions. Both authors mentioned that legal exception harm individuals and violate their rights. These individuals are not treated as they are supposed to be treated because of the power giving to these organizations by the government. In addition, Larsen uses the theory to assimilated to modern times and to explicate the legal exceptions and the power that the State has during emergencies. On the other hand, Agamben demonstrated that people live in a society where the state is constantly on emergency and utilizes the law as an instrument to manipulate individuals (Pavlich, 2011). Additionally, Larsen explicates that exception happen because when the state is under danger, exceptions arise.  However, Agamben argued that the government always had the power to control individuals through different ways.

Both Larsen and Piche, were not in favour of the security certificates for their purpose to punish individuals. The government of Canada authorized the Ministers of Public Safety and Citizenship and Immigration to sign a document that allows detaining an individual without Canadian citizenship status. That person would be inadmissible to Canada; the person would be detained and expulsed. Moreover, the state exception takes the form of counter-law – laws against law or rules about exception to rules. The key tenet is that precautionary logic demands acts intended to ward off imagined source of harm (Pavlich, 2011). However, when individuals are detained harm is performed to them. These organizations are distorted by states of exception. The author mentioned “what begins as an exercise in (in) security problem solving can, overtime, evolve into a set of “best practices, stable partnerships and even new institutions” (Larsen, 2013). Certainly, I agree with his views that sometimes certain legislations arise due to certain emergencies. Some violate individual’s rights but at the same time it is necessary to have new legislation; new crimes are emerging into society and it is necessary to have people decide what type of measures should be taken because the state cannot detain individuals for no reason and have them incarcerated to a long time and at the same time violating their rights.

References :

CRIM 3305-Law and Society Handout-Mike Larsen

Lecture CRIM 3305-Law and Society October 23th 2012- Mike Larsen

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Larsen, M. and Justin Piché. Exceptional State, Pragmatic Bureaucracy, and Indefinite Detention: The Case of the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.

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One response to “Larsen’s theorization of the of the Kingston Immigration Holding Center vs Agamben’s theory of the camp.

  1. I am not sure about the distinctions that you have drawn between Agamben’s theory and our work on the KIHC. You correctly note that both approaches are based on the concept of normalized exceptionality.

    Our account of the emergence of the KIHC differs primarily in its incorporation of the work of Butler (2004) and Ericson (2007), and in our focus on the intersection of exceptional practices and existing organizational structures. We also highlight the role of resistance in the formation of policies around states of exception.

    You close with:

    “Certainly, I agree with his views that sometimes certain legislations arise due to certain emergencies. Some violate individual’s rights but at the same time it is necessary to have new legislation; new crimes are emerging into society and it is necessary to have people decide what type of measures should be taken because the state cannot detain individuals for no reason and have them incarcerated to a long time and at the same time violating their rights.”

    A few notes:

    First, it is a bit too straightforward to say that ‘sometimes certain legislation arises due to certain emergencies’. The existence of something recognizable as an emergency is not a necessary precursor to the passage of counter-law.

    Second, what are rights? What is the meaning of a human right?

    Can human rights be violated when it is deemed ‘necessary’? If they can, is it really appropriate to call them rights?