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Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons

The category of political prisoners has rarely been discussed as a theoretical and philosophical concept. However, the book under review tries to fill that gap by presenting a nuanced theoretical perspective on political prisoners. Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons is a meticulous articulation of the Turkish state’s checkered history of treating dissent by testing the endurance of political prisoners in supermax solitary confinement F-type prisons.

 

The category of political prisoners has rarely been discussed as a theoretical and philosophical concept. However, the book under review tries to fill that gap by presenting a nuanced theoretical perspective on political prisoners. Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons is a meticulous articulation of the Turkish state’s checkered history of treating dissent by testing the endurance of political prisoners in supermax solitary confinement F-type prisons. Argumentatively, this work builds on Foucault’s notion of power and biopolitics and Agamben’s “bare life” thesis. Banu Bargu provides a critique of Foucault’s arguments as well, particularly when the latter presents prisoners as obedient and docile members. The book traces the process of the biopoliticization of sovereignty meeting the necropoliticization of resistance (p. 27). The narrative is based on weaponization of life whereby the bodies of political prisoners are forged into human weapons (p. 14).

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