Open Access

In solitary, in solidarity (2008)

in: European Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 3, p. 333-349


This article assesses the challenges to a key 'anti-policy' within anti-terrorism: the detention of terror suspects. It analyses the global response to the 2005 kidnapping of a Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq. Particular focus is given to how detainees in the 'War on Terror' emerged as key spokespeople in the attempt to influence the actions of the kidnappers. So-called 'terror detainees' in the UK and Canada made several appeals for mercy and wrote letters establishing their solidarity with the CPT hostages. Drawing on the political theory of Jacques Ranciere, the article analyses examples of detainee or hostage solidarity as acts of political subjectification. Detention is analysed as a site where key political dynamics are enacted. For detainees to articulate a grievance as an equal or enact an international solidarity is a radical political moment that serves to disrupt the routines and normalizations of the anti-policy of detention.