The section develops the notions of the rule of law necropower and necropolitical governmentalization of the state as the specific forms of necropower in North America. Drawing from Achille Mbembe’s and Michel Foucault’s governmentality, the researcher claims that in third world countries like Mexico, state power intertwines with criminal organizations. Criminal-state merging results in institutions and policy for the administration of death, which in turn leads to the reproduction of illegal capital accumulation—the necropolitical governmentalization of the state. Also, building on competing interpretations of necropower in the first world, the author argues that the United States and Canada enforce their sovereign power of killing not above or below the law but through it. North American first world countries use legal frameworks to accumulate capital through activities that produce death in specific geographies and spaces along the lines of nationality, ethnicity, race, class, and gender. The chapter calls this rule of law necropower. The common ground in both types of necropower is lucrative death.
- The rule of law
- Governmentalization of the state
- Capital accumulation
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The author is aware that the use of the first world-third world binary could be problematic or outdated. However, it is widely used in decolonial and necropolitical approaches as a semantic reaffirmation of the asymmetrical power relations between Western democracies and the rest of the world.
The incommensurability of neoliberal capitalism and its ethos of death are developed in ideas such as: zombie capitalism (Harman 2009), which based on Marx’s original concepts focuses on the destructive capacity of capital and its power to put us against us themselves; gangster capitalism (Woodiwiss 2005), which describes how organized crime in the United States has been successful thanks to the support of transnational politicians, bureaucrats and executives; ghost capitalism (Roy 2014), which examines how the demands of global capital have subjected millions of people in India to brutal forms of environmental predation, exploitation and racism; narconomics (Wainwright 2016), which analyzes the productive, distribution and sale chains of drug trafficking from an economic perspective, including internet sales, diversification of illicit merchandise, social responsibility and mergers between cartels; and narco-war capitalism, which suggests that internal conflicts and militarization focus on critical geographies for energy projects and resource extraction (Paley 2014; Harman 2009; Woodiwiss 2005; Wainwright 2016; Roy 2014; Paley 2014).
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Power produces subjectivity through discourses and apparatuses, and depending whether life or death is at stake, power objectifies human beings in different ways. The subjectivity produced by the necropolitical apparatus of production and administration of forced migration is a subjected subject: the forced migrant. According to Foucault, there are three modalities of objectification of power through which human beings become subjects: the forms of research that we call sciences; the dividing practices by which the subject is separated within his own body or divided from others, and the techniques through which human beings are willing to become themselves subjects. In biopolitics and necropolitics, subjects are usually a mixture of the three. Biopolitics’ predominant subjectivity is Homo economicus, although jurist Giorgio Agamben argued for a legal version of the neoliberal subject: the homo sacer. Firstly, the homo economicus are entrepreneurs of themselves, and they themselves are their own capital, producer, source of profit and generator of their own satisfaction. The new homo economicus is both consumer and producer. The homo sacer is a political-legal figure from the Ancient world that refers to a person who has been accused and convicted of a crime and while they cannot be sacrificed, anyone who kills them will not be accused of homicide. These individuals are left completely unprotected by the law and their inclusion is solely a result of their exclusion. The bare life of homo sacer is subject to the political only by exception. For Agamben, homo sacer is the person who can be killed but not sacrificed (Agamben 1998, 2001, 2004; Foucault 2004) .
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Estévez, A. (2021). The Management of Death in North America: From the Necropolitical Governmentalization of the State to the Rule of Law Necropower. In: Estévez, A. (eds) Necropower in North America. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-73659-0_2
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