This article draws on Agamben's concept of homo sacer (bare-life) and his examination of the Muselmänner - the most de-humanised inhabitants of the Nazi concentration camp - to illuminate the ways that the policy and system of immigration detention in Australia signifies a continuation of the biopolitical paradigm that both created and supported the atrocity of Auschwitz. The article argues that the notion of race occupies a paradoxical position in the concept and body of the refugee in Australia today because while racism brings about and justifies the refugee's incarceration in the camp, the biopolitical processes of the camp create a subject within whom race becomes inevitably subsumed within and transcended by the ontology of bare-life. In this scheme, the question of human rights becomes ever more relevant but even less applicable. The article concludes with a critique of Agamben's key ideas as well as my application of them in light of Foucauldian and other interpretations of his work.
- Australian immigration policy
- Human rights
- The australian refugee camp
- The nazi concentration camp