THE GUANTÁNAMO TRIALS: SOVEREIGNTY AND SUBJECT FORMATION IN THE WAR ON TERROR
Andrist, Lester Howard
Korzeniewicz, Roberto P
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Recent political theory has explored the idea that states reconstitute sovereign power by deciding on the exception to law. By deciding on which laws to follow and how to interpret them in new ways, sovereign states not only reconstitute sovereign power but they also exercise the power to set the terms of citizenship and political exclusion. By focusing on the U.S.-led global War on Terror, I argue that this explanation of how sovereignty reconstitutes itself and how it sets the terms of citizenship focuses too narrowly on the juridical dimension. Sovereign power also reconstitutes itself in a representational dimension by attending to processes of signification and representation. The juridical dimension and the representational dimension are connected because the decision on the exception is simultaneously an effort to create exclusions, both legally and through the deployment of representations. I analyze these exceptional decisions as orchestrated security events that create discursive openings and a platform for state officials to introduce frames and narratives for understanding the unfolding events in the War on Terror. Specifically, I look at the first few years after the 9/11 attacks and analyze the legal documentation that comprise the rationale and wording of key decisions on the exception, which created the Guantánamo Bay detention camps. I also conduct a textual analysis of newspaper articles written about Guantánamo Bay during the same time period in order to catalogue the frames, narratives, and representations deployed by state officials. One major aim of this dissertation is to describe how the juridical and representational dimensions articulate with one another.