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BiocitizenshipThe Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power$
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Kelly E. Happe, Jenell Johnson, and Marina Levina

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479845194

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479845194.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Feeding Hunger-Striking Prisoners

Feeding Hunger-Striking Prisoners

Biopolitics and Impossible Citizenship

(p.155) 7 Feeding Hunger-Striking Prisoners

Nayan Shah

NYU Press

This essay explores the tension between state practices of biocitizenship that champion human vitality and health and the state’s exercise of bodily violence. This tension erupts sharply in grappling with the imperatives and crisis of forcible feeding of hunger strikers that are incarcerated or detained indefinitely. Forcible feeding transforms the bodies of hunger strikers into dependents and makes such techniques more acceptable to concerned audiences. Yet this is also an exercise of state sovereign power through the exercise of biopolitics on subjects produced not as liberal subjects of consent or economic subjects of rationality, but as a population of dependents who must be managed. This essay examines the imperatives and contradictions of biocitizenship and biosecurity through the debates over forcible feeding of hunger strikers in Guantanamo, Israel, U.S and Australian immigrant detention facilities.

Keywords:   Forcible feeding, Hunger strikers, Detention facilities, Sovereign power

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