The bare life in the al-Hol camp in Syria: The case of the Swedish children

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This paper aims to understand the constitution of the al-Hol camp in Syria, where thousands of women and children from 57 different countries are detained in subhuman conditions. I did that by studying the case of the Swedish children, motivated by the contradiction that those children did not get help even though they belong to one of the most liberal welfare states in the world. As a result, part of them died freezing in the camps. I applied Giorgio Agamben’s theory of bare life to understand this case. I started by introducing Agamebn’s theory critically. Then I applied his theoretical framework to analyze the discourse that the Swedish Foreign Ministry has used in its response to the UN. By analyzing this discourse, I argue that those children have been constituted by the sovereign power of the Swedish state as homo sacers living bare life in the al-Hol and Roj camps in Syria.

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