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CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES ON ETHNICALLY TARGETED INTERNMENTS: A STUDY ON THE CHINESE INDIAN AND THE JAPANESE CANADIAN WARTIME EXPERIENCES
Corresponding Author(s) : Anamika Sukul
Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews,
Vol. 8 No. 3 (2020): May
Purpose of the study: The purpose of the study is to provide a new theoretical interpretation of how nation-States have exercised control over targeted ethnic communities through the repressive act of camp internment. It uses two major global historical events as the frame of reference: the internment of the Chinese ethnic community in India during the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, and internment of the Japanese ethnic population in Canada during World War II.
Methodology: This study draws on Michel Foucault’s theories on “biopolitics” to analyze the States’ mechanisms of control during wartime periods. The Foucauldian framework of “biopolitics” is used as a theoretical tool to develop a concurrent study on the internment experiences of the two ethnic groups, and provide a new understanding of the conceptualization of this regulatory decision enforced by the government.
Main Findings: The findings show the internment as an expression of State-regulated biopolitical control, in which groups of people come under the administration of a power whose sole function is to subjugate their lives and bodies by detaining them in camps. It concludes that a mass internment decisions, usually taken under the pretext of “national security,” undermines the democratic set-up of a nation.
Applications of this study: Taken together, findings of this study contribute to scholarly discussions in the field of social sciences and humanities. It will be of particular interest to those engaged in a contemporary interpretation of discriminatory actions against minority communities in the larger global context. It, however, carries a relevance beyond scholarly discourses – it warns us against replication of such unwarranted episodes in the future.
Novelty/Originality of this study: Unlike most biopolitical studies regarding authoritarian regimes, this one develops the arguments through internment cases that occurred in the world's two leading democracies. Though Japanese Canadian internment has been studied widely, Chinese Indian study is still nascent. Analyzing these episodes together under theoretical paradigms throws new insights on the State's exertion of power upon a targeted population in a modern democratic system.Japanese Canadian Internment
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