One of the major concerns when considering the relation between the spectacle of detention centres and the spectacle of torture is the relative nature of the detention situation. In the case of asylum seekers it’s understood that the question of human rights becomes a question of the state. As rights constitute individuals as human subjects rather than as simply humans the question of detention as cruelty or torture becomes readily apparent. While such torture within the detention complex is complex, Zizek and Foucault consider how such an environment actually constitutes violence for the subject. For Zizek the detention center constitutes systematic, invisible, and indirect patterns of violence. Ultimately, the pervading notion is that torture is not simply a single dehumanizing act, but constitutes a wide range of violence towards the human subject. Another prominent concern is the nature of the spectacle torture as linked to the spectacle of detention in the modern world. For Foucault the nature of detention as torture, through his notion of panopticism, can be argued to be an essential aspect of social organization. One also considers Foucault’s notion of torture as spectacle in this context of understanding. In these regards, state actions against the human subject are not simply punitive or reform motivated, but structured in such a way as demonstrate the state’s power through a spectacle; in the modern state this spectacle show of power finds incarnation in detention centres. Lenta extends this discussion noting, “The possibility I want to consider is that something analogous might oc- cur nowadays if the power of a sovereign state is challenged, perhaps through attack, such that the state is rendered vulnerable or fragile” (Lenta 2006, pg. 54). This understanding sharpens and direct Foucault’s notion of the spectacle of torture. One considers the act of terrorism as a major act against the state through which the spectacle of detention is the response. Perhaps the most pronounced understanding of detention as torture emerges in a consideration of the architecture of the detention centre. In these regards, it’s been understood that the very nature of the detention centre is designed in a way as to exemplify a sinister darkness. One of the prominent concerns in these regards is the nature of the barbed wire surrounding modern detention centres. While the wire ostensibly constitutes the functional purpose of limiting prison escapes, it more accurately is implemented for the symbolic separating of the prisoner from the citizen. In these regards, the architecture of the detention center is constructed in such a way that dehumanizes the human subject. This is a form of violence that is comparable to an act of torture. A number of counter-objections have been raised against the notion that detention is unethical. In this context of understanding, one considers the ASIO act passed recently by the Australian parliament that allows governmental agencies to detain suspects for interrogation up to seven days. The argument that while the government may be violating human rights, these actions are ethically necessary as a means of preserving human lives. Although such an argument is sound, one still notes that even if the act of torture is undertaken for ethical reasons it remains a torturous act. In these
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The spectacle of detention centres is the same as the spectacle of torture Although torture constitutes a barbaric act it remains prevalent in the modern world. As society has gained greater understanding in terms of psychology, methods of oppression, violence, and detention, it should be no surprise that the nature of torture has expanded…
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These places are characterized by lack of several forms of freedom that range from physical to social freedom. Hence this means that the spectacle of detention centers is the same as the spectacle of torture. This paper seeks to address the several factors that cause these facilities to be characterized with spectacle of torture.
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