One View of the Dungeon: The Ticking Time Bomb between Governmentality and Sovereignty
International Studies in Philosophy 40:2 (2008), 11-32
21 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2008 Last revised: 20 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2008
This paper analyzes "ticking time bomb" scenarios in the discursive legitimation of torture and other coercive interrogation techniques. Judith Butler proposes a Foucauldian framework to suggest that Adminstration policies can be read as the irruption of sovereignty within governmentality. Rereading Foucault, I suggest that the policies could equally be understood as an exercise of governmentality, i.e., the subordination of juridical law to economy. I then propose as a reconciliation of these readings that time bomb scenarios serve rhetorically to make the exercise of arbitrary power Butler identifies appear as an exercise of governmentality; sanitized of complications, coercive interrogation appears efficient.
Keywords: torture, ticking time bomb, Judith Butler, Foucault
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