National Security Measures: Subjectivity, Risk and Uncertainty in Pre-Crime Canada

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 58
Oral Presentation
Tabasum AKSEER , Cultural Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada
Since 9/11, national security measures have increased in Western nations. Such security measures often come at the victimization of particular ethnic and religious groups. Certain legal measures suspend rights in the interests of national security. These measures are described as state-of-exception, state-of-emergency, war measures or state-of siege measures. State-of-exception measures, according to Giorgio Agamben, refer to the suspension of laws within a state of emergency or crisis, which can become a prolonged state of being. During such times, certain forms of knowledge can be privileged and accepted as truth. Only certain voices can be heard and valued, as many others are ignored. The Canadian state-of-exception status has legitimated the use of security certificates used specifically towards non-citizens in efforts to deport individuals to their country of origin. Ericson (2007) identifies security certificates as a form of counter-law, a preventative approach, characterised by precautionary logic and the adjustment of legal standards according to these parameters. Larsen (2008) expands this definition and argues while the aim of counter-law is to manage uncertainty, uncertainty is future oriented. The risks of moving towards a pre-crime society start to emerge.

While reigning discursive practices often point a finger at discriminating American neoliberal practices in the form of national security measures and movements toward pre-crime society, there is substantial evidence that sheds light on similar Canadian law and policies. What contribution do surveillance and security certificates make towards the Canadian construction of a pre-crime society? How does uncertainty and risk intersect in consideration (or in investigation) of the surveilled subject? The purpose of this paper is to not only address these questions but also investigate the intersection between national security measures and the citizen to provide a better understanding of risk and uncertainty.