The shaping of space is a political issue, as the kind of space each subject takes with her helps determine not only her access to resources but also her vulnerability to violence. The embodied subject extends past the bounds of the skin, making, unmaking and varying herself as she moves through life as a hybrid of organic and non-organic components.
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This reality debunks liberal conceptualisations of subjects as fully bounded bodies, separate and distinct from each other and from their environments. Critical disability scholars such as Shildrick show that embodied subjects are hybrids — combining with, separating from and being both enabled and obstructed by biomedical prosthetics and physical environments Pothier and Devlin, ; Goodley, There is no purely organic, bounded embodied subject who lives in isolation from others and from the space in which it exists.
Nor is the hybridity of the embodied subject limited to issues of ability. Race, gender and other markers of belonging are also materialised, on an individual level, through intimate interactions between the body and that beyond it. Living in a particular place, wearing particular kinds of clothing or consuming particular kinds of food can operate as signifiers of racial difference, even though they are not part of the body Lentin, Structures of oppression such as able-ism, racism and sexism operate spatially.
While race is a social construct originating in European colonial thought Augstein, , it is also a structure of oppression that is reproduced on an everyday level by laws and norms that restrict the physical spaces that particular subjects can safely occupy. Taking space with you can thus best be understood as the process that every embodied subject goes through as she moves through life, combining and connecting with, enabled, obstructed, and to an extent defined by the heterogeneous multiplicity beyond the skin. The electronic tag is a technology which encapsulates the material way in which law can combine space and the subject, producing bespoke landscapes of regulation for tagged subjects wherever they may travel, and in turn constructing the hybrid subject.
While prosthetic limbs combine with bodies to enable those bodies to do what they otherwise could not, electronic tags combine with bodies to prevent them from doing what they otherwise could. Originating in the US in the s, electronic monitoring is now used in over 30 countries worldwide ibid. First introduced in Britain in , electronic tagging was seen as a way to reduce prison numbers while still punishing the offender and to cut public costs involved in the criminal justice system by introducing a scheme that would be maintained by private providers Mair and Nellis, : The electronically tagged subject is not a prisoner in the traditional sense because he is not physically incarcerated in an institutional building dedicated to the confinement of those who have been convicted or charged with a crime.
Indeed, the physical tag itself is fairly innocuous as an object. In these ways, the tagged subject is spatialised as a prisoner despite his location outside of prison. He becomes a hybrid of his organic body and the networked inorganic material which is attached to him, his body extending past the skin and his consequent position and capabilities in the world defining his subjectivity. Outside the residence the tag records its location. At all times the information is relayed to the monitoring company.
Thus it can indicate, for example, if the appellant were to enter any area which he was prohibited from entering. In order to comply with the obligation to keep the tag charged, the appellant must attach it to a charging unit which is connected to a mains socket.
The tagged subject exists in and is constituted by the space of the tag and its network — what is around his ankle and in his head determines what is materially within his reach, his vulnerability to actual imprisonment, deportation or other state sanction and, to a significant extent, who he is. DD was obsessively worried about not properly charging the tag and about inadvertently damaging it.
The use of electronic tags for the monitoring of terrorist suspects in Britain was introduced in pursuant to the Prevention of Terrorism Act ibid. Lucia Zedner noted that many individuals subject to Control Orders had poor mental health histories, and that Control Orders leave their subjects unable to know the evidence against them; subject to extensive and indefinite restrictions upon their liberty and their quality of life; and powerless to challenge the grounds for their imposition.
Coupled to these burdens is the knowledge that, in some cases at least, attempts are being made to return them to countries where they may face prosecution or risk human rights violations, including torture or even death. Born in Somalia in , DD came to Britain in and was granted refugee status. Upon his release, he came to Britain. In DD was arrested and charged with two offences under the Terrorism Act , one relating to the dissemination of terrorist publications and one relating to receiving money knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect it would be used to support terrorism at .
He was acquitted in at  , but was put on a TPIM in at  because the Security Service assessed that despite his acquittal, DD was a supporter of the Somali based terrorist organisation Al-Shabaab and had … been involved in sending funds and equipment to support its activities and radicalising, recruiting, assisting and funding individuals to travel to Somalia for terrorist related activity. He had contributed to, indeed had been involved in setting up, extremist websites.
He raised money for Al-Shabaab and intended to travel to Somalia for terrorist related activity purposes.
Al-Shabaab, which had become a proscribed terrorist organisation in Britain in , emerged in out of the latest wave of violence and unrest that has plagued Somalia since Italian and British colonialism Gartenstein-Ross, It was earlier formations of violence and unrest that forced DD to leave Somalia in , and which remain with him today in what has been diagnosed as PTSD. Through the tag, law has produced a landscape in which the subject is physically, psychically and juridically inseparable from his surrounding space. For subjects who have had their claims for asylum rejected, who have overstayed their visas or who for other reasons do not have either EU citizenship or a valid British passport or visa, these regulations constitute material barriers to physical spaces.
These barriers exist only for particular subjects, so like electronic tags, the Act produces landscapes of bespoke regulation not by building physical walls but by ensuring that particular subjects are out of place and vulnerable to potential deportation no matter their physical location. Every halting interaction a subject has with the internal British border produced by the Immigration Acts positions the subject as outside the white British space of belonging.
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The space that the irregular migrant — and those who resemble her — takes with her as she travels within Britain is a process of constant negotiation with borders. Her body does not end at the skin because a border appears before her, in every street. As Jon Burnett argues, the aim of the Immigration Act is to make life intolerable for undocumented migrants so as to force them to leave — their destitution is used as a government tool of deportation 8. Race is, as Stuart Hall argued, a floating signifier: it is not a biological truth but rather a discursive system of human classification, a system in which meanings can change over time Understanding how particular subjects have come to be embodied as white or non-white requires an understanding of the historical production of Britain as a spatial entity.
In an attempt to keep the empire together, the British Nationality Act was passed, granting British citizenship to all nationals of Commonwealth countries and British colonies — meaning that there were some million British citizens ibid. As El-Enany explains, when dark-skinned British citizens began arriving in Britain throughout the s and 60s, increasingly restrictive immigration legislation was passed to limit their presence. The Immigration Act restricted the right to enter and remain in Britain to those whose parents or grandparents were born in Britain ibid.
The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces
While not framed in explicitly racist language, the law had racist motives. This wall operated at or before the point of entry into the actual British landmass. Entry clearance requirements impose an administrative border on subjects born in particular places, a border that extends all the way into their home states and areas they might pass through on the journey to Britain. The operation of the British external border in Calais under the Sangette Protocol 7 for example enables British border officers to prevent people from coming to Britain well before they reach British territory.
The external borders of Britain and other EU countries are policed by FRONTEX, which effectively enforces EU borders in locations across the world but most notably in the Mediterranean and along the northern and western African coast, where boats might attempt to enter EU territorial waters. The subject belongs to , combines with and includes time and space — in this instance, the time of colonial history and the spatial reality of the border, which travel with her as she looks for a home, along every British street.
Legal geography demonstrates connections between law and space, while critical race theory and critical disability studies provide theoretical frameworks to understand the intimate, constitutive relationship between space and the subject.
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The space that DD — a Somalian refugee suspected of involvement with terrorism — took with him while the TPIM demanded that he wear an electronic tag confined him to a particular physical and social space, one that was inescapable and drove him to psychosis. While the barriers put in place by the and Immigration Acts do not operate directly upon the body in the way that electronic tags do, they produce a similarly spatialised subject, one who encounters a border in every street.
Section 39 of the Immigration Act amends the Immigration Act , inserting s33A which creates the offence. Note that at the time of writing, this provision is in force for England. This argument is consistent with feminist geographers who have pointed out the spatial construction of masculine city and feminine domestic home see Massey, , McDowell, Cross Border Collective, Sydney www. Aldama, Chela Sandoval, Peter J. This discussion relates to non-derogating Control Orders.
Governing Out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging
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Metrics Views Abstract In this chapter, I theorise the relationship between law, space and the subject in the context of electronic surveillance tags and the Immigration Acts of and UK. Theorising law, space and the subject The liberal democratic state, and the law it creates, are underpinned and legitimised by notions of universality and neutrality — theoretically, state law delivers justice to all subjects on an equal basis, free of any political agenda.
The space you take with you In addressing the question of where the subject ends and space begins, I have previously argued that it is useful to examine property as a particularly intimate relation between space and the subject, a relation in which the separation between space and subject can become blurred. Rather, subjects exist in and are constituted by space — combining with space such that they cannot be easily separated from it, conceptually or materially. Who subjects are, what is materially within their reach and their vulnerability to violence is therefore constantly re determined by where they have been and what has happened around them.
Secretary of State for the Home Department A new kind of penal subject The electronic tag is a technology which encapsulates the material way in which law can combine space and the subject, producing bespoke landscapes of regulation for tagged subjects wherever they may travel, and in turn constructing the hybrid subject. The subject is made aware that the tag and related technology will be used to monitor his location at all times, so positioning relative to any zones that he is either confined to or prohibited from entering can be enforced upon him without putting up any physical barriers or changing the space for other subjects.
Those institutions are productive of both a space of confinement and regulation, and a surveilled and punished subjectivity. Nonetheless, the walls that confine the tagged subject prevent that subject from going to particular places and from being and thinking in particular ways. While TPIMs were intended to address some of the civil liberties concerns raised in relation to Control Orders, their restrictive measures and low standard of proof remain Walker and Horne, Weighed down by history II Race is, as Stuart Hall argued, a floating signifier: it is not a biological truth but rather a discursive system of human classification, a system in which meanings can change over time Harris, Cheryl I.
Hernandez, Roberto D. Aldama , Chela Sandoval and Peter J. Aldershot: Ashgate, Lefebvre, Henri , The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, MacKinnon, Catharine A. New York: Routledge, 63—81, Governing Out of Order examines issues which include the way British courts have facilitated the privatization of local government, the Canada -- Spain fishing wars, how political and civil bodies struggle over national identity, homosexuality, education, hunting, and religious practice.
Davina Cooper asks how governing can be both responsible and radical. She argues that governing principles should be ideologically explicit, prepared to contest and transgress divisions of authority to pursue a multi-cultural, egalitarian vision of political responsibility. Governing Out of Order raises questions and concerns echoed throughout liberal states. It will be a key book for students and scholars in political and social theory, law, and cultural studies. Login Admin Dashboards Simple search Advanced search.
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