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Crisis heterotopias and border zones of the dead

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Abstract:

In this essay, I examine transnational relations of biopower and colonialism in the context of two islands, Lampedusa and Christmas Island. By examining the manner in which both islands have been mobilized by Fortress Europe and Fortress Australia as frontline spaces that must thwart, through imprisonment and deportation, the landfall of asylum seekers and refugees on their shores, I mark their faultline status in the geopolitics of North/South relations. Even as both islands are sites marked by the harrowing presence of immigration prisons, they are also places that are destinations for luxury holidays. Drawing on Michel Foucault's concept of crisis heterotopias, as spaces that can simultaneously accommodate often violently contradictory differences, I attempt to theorize the biopolitical relations that inscribe and organize such sites. Situating them along the faultline of the border, I conclude by bringing into focus the border zones of the refugee dead that inscribe both islands.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10304310903183627

Affiliations: Department of Media, Music and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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