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Forced Entanglements: Stories of Expulsion, Sovereign Power and Bare Life

Wiedmer, Caroline

Kulturwissenschaftliche Zeitschrift, Bd. 2018 (2018), Iss. 2: S. 63–81

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Wiedmer, Caroline


This article explores the contemporary practice of forced detainment and expulsion in Switzerland from two distinct perspectives: the 1995 law on coercive measures that first introduced the practice in Switzerland, as well as the cultural context that led to its constitution, and the documentary Le vol spécial by Fernand Melgar, made some fifteen years after the law was first introduced, which records the law’s consequences for the daily lives of rejected asylum seekers awaiting expulsion. Using Giorgio Agamben’stheoretical work on the states of exception and bare life, I seek to uncover what I call the narrative of expulsion, arguing that narrative politics operates on a number of interrelated levels not only to shape the context and practice of forced expulsion that undergird the asylum politics in Switzerland, and other countries, today, but ultimately also to change the post-enlightenment narrative of the political subject and challenge the efficacy of the Human Rights regime the world over.