In Indefinite Detention, Butler uses the actions of the U.S government towards detainees as a platform to voice her concerns on “indefinite detention”. Here, it’s used to describe detainees held by the U.S who are denied even recognition and solid standards for convicting evidence and trials. She believes it doesn’t have a ground in law and is based on the judgment of a select few who determine the fate and lives of people. However, is it because that indefinite detention is based on people’s judgment that it is outside the sphere of law? Or is it the other way around? And is she implying that those who make heavily consequential decisions are dumb? Indefinite detention plays a constant role on detainees because in government policies because people’s definition of terrorism is limitless; people see terrorism in everything, and so their detention will never end. She shoots down the excuse that extreme measures are necessary in a state of emergency by pointing out that the definition of “state of emergency” is also indefinite, and that there is no set period for it. What I found interesting was the notion that indefinite detention “not only carries implications for when and where law will be suspended but for determining the limit and scope of legal jurisdiction itself”. (Butler 51). Is she saying that those who implement indefinite detention become the law or the sovereign?
Something that really confused me was the idea that getting rid of the traditional thought of sovereignty (as in how people got power through social status, etc.) would cause sovereignty to rise again as an “anachronism” (an error in chronology). My interpretation of this is that sovereignty could potentially rise again as something it wasn’t supposed to be, and so the new sovereignty would be a mistake. But does she mean an error in what was already past, and what counts as an error in time?
Butler beings up two forms of government power: sovereignty and governmentality. Governmentality cannot be reduced to law and “legitimizes the state” (as in it allows the state to do what it deems to those it governs). The state cannot exist without governmentality, and in order for governmentality to exist, the traditional sovereignty has to be dropped. So how do countries with sovereign-like governments survive today? And does she see a difference between the traditional sovereignty and the governmentality now? Because it’s the government now that is keeping the detainees from basic rights and living conditions that she believes everyone should have and that’s loosening the standards for evidence and trials. Could we be living in a monarchy right now without knowing it?