Guantanamo Matters

Un libro in lingua di Van Veeren Elspeth edito da Routledge, 2019

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Materialising Post-9/11 Security is the first full-length study of the controversial U.S. military detention and interrogation facility which has been in the media spotlight for the past 10 years. While there has been no shortage of comment and some notable academic attention, howver this work seeks to explore areas not so far covered in depth, and provides readers with a timely and, at times, disturbing overview.

Through a study of material practices connected with Guantánamo both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the wire – including practices involving its objects and environments and their successive alterations, detention and interrogation practices, media practices such as photography and tours, and varied speech practices – Van Veeren documents the production of different ways that the site has been understood and represented. Building on studies that focus on linguistic constructions of security, she argues that materialities – practices involving bodies, objects and spaces that shape our way of being and knowing in the world – played a constitutive role in the production of the discourse about Guantánamo and therefore of the wider Global War on Terror. U.S. administrations used these practices to produce and reinforce political positions and so construct ‘common sense’concerning the nature of security threats, on the one hand, and what constitutes legal and humane treatment, on the other. Those opposed to Guantánamo – including those detained inside as well as those protesting outside – were inevitably involved in counter-constructions, some of them very imaginative, and sometimes upsetting.

Overall, this book therefore presents a scholarly contemporary historical account of the site as well as an exploration of theories of materialisation and meaning-making with regard to war and security. Post-9/11 politics cannot be understood without due consideration of material practices involving the construction and representation of things. Guantánamo and its materialities, more than any other single site – even Abu Ghraib – remains central and intractable to the competition over what it means to be secure in a post-9/11 world.

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