Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Ronjon P Datta


9/11, agamben, foucault, torture, unlawful combatants, war on terror




This thesis analyzes the widespread transgressions of U.S. constitutional, international and military law post-9/11. My aim is to illustrate how the tripartite problematizations of terrorism, national security and increased presidential authority constituted the dual emergence of the medieval sovereign and unlawful combatants as governmental subjects/objects. This thesis uses archaeological and genealogical discourse analysis in illustrating how post-9/11 texts transformed modalities of thought and deployments of executive power against newly constituted threats. I use Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault as intellectual reference points in explicating the formation of new political/legal discourses and practices that violate existing legal standards. I argue that although both theorists offer insightful theoretical contributions, they fall short in accounting for the emergence of the “security-sovereign” that is unrestrained by rationalities and logics of security and sovereignty. The result is a new avatar of sovereignty that developed and authorized indefinite detention and torture against the suspected “evil doer”.