Body Politics and Boundary Work: Nobodies on Hunger Strike at Guantánamo (2013–2015)

Kandida Purnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Against a backdrop of overt biopolitical vitalism in the United States, in particular Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s practice of force-feeding hunger striking Camp Delta detainees, this article aims to reconsider the power/resistance relation as it investigates how bodies rendered nobodies might be able to disrupt a particular manifestation of power that is blind to personhood, aiming for control over life and death in equal measures. With a focus on boundary renegotiation and the dynamics of visibility/invisibility at play around the space of Camp Delta, analysis of the 2013–2015 hunger strike suggests that the embodied practices of even “nobodies” can work to engender a life-centered, alternative, and affirmative politics. Moreover, this article finds that the 2013–2015 hunger strike worked to contest the inhumane practice of force-feeding as well as the boundaries of the visible and the political in the contemporary US context, which are themselves found to be marked by the very bodies of Camp Delta’s detainees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalAlternatives: Global, Local, Political
Issue number4
Early online date24 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • bodies
  • boundaries
  • power
  • resistance
  • visibility


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