Danger, Docility and the Denial of Death: On Productive Forces of Violent Practices in Prison

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis establishes an understanding of violence as discourse in the setting of Turkish prisons, during the death fast in the early 2000s. It uncovers discourses embedded in the acts of torture, hunger striking and force-feeding, each able to produce certain kinds of subjects. Investigating the interplay between power logics that underpin these violent practices, the thesis contests the idea of violence as something exclusively constraining. Torture is theorized as part of a discourse of security, producing prisoners as dangerous bodies, whereas a medical discourse covered in the use of force-feeding shapes docile and legible bodies. Disrupting this order, hunger striking resembles an attempt to bring about contestation over these forced identities, which in the case of Turkey tend to reproduce stereotypes by associating religious, ethnic or racial affiliations with terrorism. Exploring the distinct logics of sovereign power and biopower, the thesis observes their intersection in the event of death.

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