Tag Archives: Biopolitics

How Oliver the Justice Dog shows us what it means to be human

I was somewhat surprised this week to see a post on social media announcing that a dog has received a staff ID card at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU).

While I have no problem with dogs on campus, or indeed the work of Justice Support Dogs International (JSDI), I do find the fact that a dog should receive a human staff ID card somewhat unsettling. This is because it serves to further enshrine a biopolitical discourse surrounding the human and the animal, and goes to show the power of major institutions to dictate the terms on which we define what constitutes the human and the animal.

While some readers may find the news about Oliver fairly innocuous, or even quite fun, the problem is not the card itself, but what the card represents, and the border for inclusion that places a dog above those not included within the formalised university group. In this case, Oliver the dog has more rights than many human employees at the same institution, even though he is incapable of exercising the same human responsibilities that form a part of the membership contract.

In this way, Oliver the Justice Dog reveals something of the operation of power within the biopolitical state through the very act of his exclusory-inclusion within the category of the human. Continue reading »

‘They took our jobs!’: AI, robots and the future jobs market

I read with great interest today that Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, has claimed that AI will replace teachers in schools in the near future. As you might expect, the various media outlets have been inundated with comments from members of the public decrying there merest hint that that a machine could do a human job.

But is it really such a far-fetched idea? Continue reading »

Is killing the ultimate form of control?

I recently had an enjoyable day at Lancaster House, chatting to members of the TTAC21 reading group on subjects including drone theory, armed conflict, the Prevent strategy, and the International Court of Human Rights.

As most of the participants were drawn from law departments, it was interesting as a relative ‘outsider’ to get a view on how those in the law discipline view issues such as life, death and sovereign power. One particularly interesting question that cropped up was ‘Is killing the ultimate form of control?’

Unfortunately we didn’t really have time to explore the question during the course of the day, so I thought it useful to gather a few thoughts here to open up some discussion…  Continue reading »