State pornography

23 Aug

Sociologist Loïc Wacquant (2009:xi-xii) describes how law and order has adopted several characteristics of pornography:

‘the rampant gesticulation over law and order is conceived and carried out not so much for its own sake as for the express purpose of being exhibited and seen, scrutinised, ogled: the absolute priority is to put on a spectacle, in the literal sense of the term’.

The state’s concern with creating intensely degrading scenes in the name of law and order was witnessed in its disturbing and distressing actions on 21st August. The UK Border Agency conducted raids of local shops on Walworth Road and a Brixton butchers against suspected ‘illegal’ immigrants as part of its Operation Mayapple. Like pornography, the actions of the UK Border Agency were clearly staged with the press invited along for the ride, their huge lenses going in for a close up. Those being targeted were carefully selected for their appearance. The Home Office then tweeted these photos from their flickr account and a Youtube video for maximum audience reach, bragging at their catch and tweeting crap like:


Of course, forcibly removing people simply because they have been classed as ‘illegal’ is horrific enough – the states’ decision to tweet photos of this adds further degradation. Perversely, perhaps these disturbing images will draw light to the issue of the criminalisation of immigrants and the actions of the UKBA. If they try to make more videos, it’s time we altered the script a little.


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