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Introduction: Spaces of Immigration "Prevention": Interdiction and the Nonplace

Robert A. Davidson

diacritics, Volume 33, Number 3/4, Fall-Winter 2003, pp. 3-18 (Article)

Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/dia.2006.0007

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Indigenous Parts Rachel Harrison





Interdict: noun 1 an authoritative prohibition. 2 Catholicism: a sentence debarring a person, or esp. a place from ecclesiastical functions and privileges. verb 1 prohibit (an action). 2 forbid the use of. 3 restrain a person from. 4 a Military: impede (an enemy force) esp. by bombing lines of communication or supply b intercept (a prohibited commodity); prevent its movement. Canadian Oxford Dictionary New Coordinates Dealing with the concept of space has become a veritable prerequisite for critical assessments of representation. Mapping, the corollary of such considerations, engages space in a way that presupposes the viability of a dialogue between what are, in effect, multiple spatial relations and cartography through the setting of coordinates, trajectories, and frontiers. As the breadth of critical inquiry in the humanities continues to expand, the use of geographical metaphors and techniques to analyze not only the imagined spaces of artistic production and theoretical discourse, but also the real, physical spaces of the built environment and the shifting coordinates of the national, grows concomitantly. That there may exist new coordinates relating to these discourses insinuates the possible rearrangement of constellations or the taking of new bearings based on unused or overlooked beacons that actuate both the past (the already-mapped) and the future (willed trajectories that may or may not be realized; the possibility of drifting). Interdisciplinarity has shown that new coordinates are not necessarily off the map but of the map, in that one need not seek out undiscovered country, per se, in order to offer a novel response to the continuing spatialization of disciplines, theory, and lived experience. This spatialization process inects whatever it comes into contact with. As Mike Crang and N. J. Thrift observe, space is the everywhere of modern thought [1]. And while it may be true that, as Graham Livesey suggests, space has become fragmented between disciplines, each of which has its own language that particularizes and problematizes [it] [11], spaces of juncturesuch as Diacriticsexist that permit integration and reformulation. The essays in this double issue engage with this spatial everywhere as their authors articulate their respective interpretations of the evolving nature of space and a broadly understood notion of mapping in ways that both break new ground and revitalize previous paths of critical inquiry. By delving into

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geographic, temporal, literary, and experiential manifestations of space and navigationboth literal and metaphoricalNew Coordinates works on multiple planes and axes, tackling at once how space inects questions of urban design and experience (Boyer, Veel), architecture (Leach), the space of the nation (Balibar, Resina), the limits of knowledge (Lima), the site and truth (Badiou, Pinet), the space of writing (Conley), and the striking conceptual importance of the notion of the nonplace to contemporary French thought (Bosteels). One particularly fecund offshoot of spatial theory has been the exploration of spaces in which meaning once founded in modernism and modernist aesthetics has been rearticulated vis--vis the experience of the post/super/hypermodern subjecta subject that, in spite of globalization, still maintains a connection to the state, no matter how contentious or tenuous that link may be. Out of this tension, competition with theories that engage the construction (or continued existence) of a referential sense of place has arisen in the form of investigations of both how localities are structured and maintained and the appearance of nonreferential spaces: nonplaces. Inherent in an important aspect of this movement is the reconsideration of the built environment and the way in which edices and constructed zones are imbued with or impart meaning (an idea that is central to Neil Leachs 9/11 essay in this volume). In the overlap between the experiences of these divergent built environments, there is particularly fertile ground for a discussion of the way in which one particularly popular theory of the nonplace, state control of frontiers, and migration combine to elucidate the continuing importance of an exploration of space, variable forms of mapping, and what may be called the trajectory of the nation-state. In a general sense these tensions are discernible in the way that states exercise or attempt to exercise sovereignty both inside and outside their established frontiers; at a more specic level, they are patent in the state management procedure of interdiction. The very practical notion of management is intrinsic to the existence of the nation-state, as Timothy Brennan astutely observes: Nation-states are not only, as we customarily hear today, imagined communities: they are also, and no less fundamentally, manageable communities. The state as coercive negotiator presides over a community that it must, by denition, be capable of managing. What it is capable of managing becomes inexorably what must be ruled. Cultural theory has become inordinately xated on the ideology of nationalism in recent decades. [. . .] Fascinated by the narrative layerings and polysemic ambiguities of political myth and representation, cultural theory radically underestimates the practical issues of management at stake in the making of nations. Here the sober concerns of international relations are a salutary corrective. [Cosmopolitanism 4647] In the introductory essay that follows, I will endeavor to engage some of the major themes that the contributors to this special issue have brought to bear on the general topics of space, mapping, and national trajectories. Specically, I will explore the thesis that state-directed interdiction and migrant management practices rearticulate spaces and, consequently, make it even more imperative to reconsider the currently prevalent understanding of the nonplace as a physical site as its latent political potential is realized through calculated state intervention in the movement of individuals and groups. Interdiction While the term interdiction may refer to any authoritative prohibition, when applied to the complex issues of migration and diasporas during the late twentieth and early

twenty-rst centuries, it is understood to be the practice by which nation-states control and manage these migrant and refugee ows. Or, to be even more precise, interdiction is the act of prohibiting, intercepting, or in some cases, deecting unauthorized movement. It is a multifaceted tool and umbrella concept that affords the state latitude in its dealings with individuals, both economic migrants and refugees alike. Even though individual states may be party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, an international agreement under which signatory nations must grant asylum to refugees and not forcibly return them to their original countries, a core tenet of statehood is the right to exert sovereignty over borders and thus control entry and egress to protect state interestsethical or moral responsibilities to a larger international community notwithstanding.1 Regulation raises numerous legal questions regarding the treatment and processing of refugee status claimants. How and why people emigrate as well as the way in which those in transit are handled by destination countries often paint a picture of desperation and helplessness on the one hand and calculating resolve on the other. A states determination to manage potential claimants combined with the intricacies of where actual, enforceable sovereignty begins and ends highlight the practical aspects of interdiction, which in turn lead to considerations of the built environment and its role in how some states aggressively manage their own general course or tack. In his article on refugee interdiction, Ataner identies various practices related to the phenomenon and the subsequent risk that a refugee may suffer refoulement (return) to the country of origin [12]. Among these are more passive2 preemptive practices such as the requirement that travelers from a refugee-producing country acquire a visa, the imposition of sanctions on carrier companies that transport illegal or irregular travelers, and the training of carrier staff in departure countries to detect those with improper documentation [1213].3 Additionally, there are preemptive interdiction practices that are much more active and, as such, test the limits of state sovereignty. These include, for instance, placing immigration ofcers in foreign airports for detection purposes; intercepting marine vessels in international or territorial waters; and, what seems almost paradoxical in regard to the fortication of sovereignty, excising state territory so as to create migration zones where the rights of asylum seekers are lessened or eliminated [13]. These varied interdiction practices illustrate the junction between policy and a surprisingly exible real, physical space: the national environment, both natural and built. This exibility is patent in that, when considered in a cartographic sense (that is, how states map themselves vis--vis the limits or enforceable boundaries of their power), the practices of interdiction reveal a process of varied expansion and contraction of state authority and autonomy. In turn, this dynamic implies changing national frontiers in both the literal and gurative senses. By employing apparatuses to extend itself extraterritorially, the state expands its inuence so as to effect anticipatory or preventative action against potential refugee claimants or migrants.4 Conversely, the excision
1. According to Attila Ataner, if security and safety are a states main reasons for strictly controlling migration, the question of sovereign power is not invoked explicitly, but rather, incidentally as the legal mechanism through which migration can be regularized. For, regular migration is, essentially, authorized migrationentry with ofcial permission. Authorized migration, in turn, is safe and secure migration. The process of authorizing entry enables states to manage the risks involved in receiving foreign nationals [1011]. 2. The categorization and qualications of these practices are my own. 3. The practice of deecting refugee claimants to another transit country that has been deemed a safe third country, while denitely not passive, relies on multilateral cooperation [Ataner 13]. 4. The US and Canada both station agents abroad for interdiction purposes. In 2003, then Canadian Minister of Immigration, Denis Coderre, boasted about the success of his agencys

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of territory or the creation of special zones demonstrates that the state is capable also of contracting its inuence and extension. This contraction can occur within xed and recognized national borders. Thus, in some cases, the state seemingly perforates itself by selectively leaving areas of its space exposed to international jurisdiction.5 At rst glance, a states outright excision of its own national space, the declaration of particular parts of its sovereign territory to be ostensibly international, or an apparent watering-down of its sovereignty over satellite territories would appear to undermine the very elements of national sovereignty that immigration controls ultimately seek to bulwark. In practice, however, these measures are taken more in an attempt either to create a nebulous legal zone in which the state in question can avoid the responsibilities that international conventions place upon it the moment a refugee claimant enters national space or to circumvent its own stipulated obligations concerning foreigners within its domestic purview.6 In this legal footwork one sees Agambens sovereign ban in action as the state expressly delivers something over to itself [. . .] maintaining itself in relation to something presupposed as nonrelational, with, as we shall see, the nonrelational aspect of the equation having its ultimate expression in the nonplace [Agamben 10910]. The Italian philosophers continuation of this point is equally pertinent to how one may theorize the excised space of the state; he observes that [w]hat has been banned is delivered over to its own separateness and, at the same time, consigned to the mercy of the one who abandons itat once excluded and included, removed and at the same time captured [110]. The state thus freed from part of itself is at liberty to exercise a more supreme form of purpose-driven, unilateral, and practical sovereignty, one in which the give and take of membership in an international community has been suspended. These types of actions substantiate tienne Balibars contention that the absolute sovereignty of nation-states is thus not universalizable, a fact that makes the idea of a world of nations or united nations a contradictory one [Balibar, We the People 7]. Moral concerns and theoretical considerations of sovereignty aside, these evasive maneuvers raise important questions regarding the way that states actually manage their own national trajectoriesthat is, the manner in which they develop or evolve in space and time, through both policy and practice related to citizenship and frontiers while impeding the personal trajectories through space of unauthorized individuals as well as diasporic groups who would seek to enter a states sovereign district and as a result, in the states perception, alter its constitution. Of course, it may be that, as per Arjun Appadurai, nation-states are no longer the guarantors of many aspects of national life (markets, livelihoods, identities, histories, and, perhaps, xed territoriality) but, rather, have simply become mere arbiters among other arbiters of global ows
Orwellian-sounding migration integrity specialists in deterring unauthorized travelers from arriving in Canada [qtd. in Brouwer]. 5. Even though the recognition of embassies and consulates as foreign soil within a states own borders could be construed as another form of perforation, it is not comparable to the creation of international migration zones in that such recognition is a product of state-tostate conventions and assumes a degree of reciprocal treatment abroad (that is, there is no net loss of territory). For more on the inviolability of consular space, see specically Articles 29 and 3136 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Optional Protocols. 6. This attitude is not logical since, as Nuala Mole rightly observes, anyone committing a crime in a so-called waiting area or international zone at an airport would be subject to the laws of that country [Mole 69]. Regarding international obligations towards refugees, see specically, Article 33 (1) of the Geneva Convention: No Contracting State shall expel or return (refouler) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion [qtd. in Mole 62].

[342]. Regardless of the extent to which one believes this to be true,7 porosity remains a major source of state anxiety that continues to grow more acute as states struggle to maintain borders and, simultaneously, deal with unofcial or illegal residents who, regardless of their status, begin to take part in the daily life of the nation-state. An examination of the intriguing role of specic built spaces in the processes of interdiction and immigration management sheds light not only on the evolution of state policy and management in dealing with this anxiety of migration and refugee movement, but also on the specic tactics that the changing nature of frontiers and international travel necessitate. In what follows, I shall rst consider briey the drastic practice of territorial excision in the creation of an ever-tightening space of interdiction before focusing on how one very specic space that has gone largely unexamined in discussions of the modern built environmentthe hotelhas played a role in the articulation of a more malleable state frontier as it pertains to migration and the theoretical consequences resulting thereof. That the homogenous modern business or tourist hotel, postwar descendent of the monumental grand style, also stands as a prototypical nonplace and is intrinsically linked to the phenomenon of travel and movement through spacenational or otherwisesupports my contention that the states determination of its own trajectory through overt and veiled interdiction practices activates the latent political potential of the supermodern nonplace, an act that consequently necessitates the latters reevaluation as a space not only of interdiction but also of exclusion. Territorial Excision There are three main forms of territorial excision involved in interdiction practices and refugee ow management. In geographical terms, they occur at varying degrees of distance from the core state territory. The rst, the operation of extraterritorial bases, represents a disavowal of jurisdiction and responsibility based on a feigned respect for international borders even though state control is clearly evident in the states capacity to impede, deect, or delay the movement of non-nationals. In the second form, which occurs another step inwards, one nds the tactic of redening national territories status according to state desires regarding immigration/refugee ows. Finally, within domestic space, an internal excision of very specic areas can occur so as to avoid full state obligations regarding the treatment of unauthorized foreigners. The fact that in the latter case, prototypical nonplaces are those that are most commonly excised is signicant and suggests that considerations of the nonplace must take into account not only the experience of travelers who voyage by choice but also that of those who are displaced and subsequently become subject to the whims of another states largesse.8 The Guantanamo Bay refugee camp built by the US in the mid-1990s (on land it had excised from the Communist state following the Cuban Revolution) as a response to increased refugee pressure from Haiti and Cuba is an example of an extraterritorial base that has allowed the state in question wide latitude in its policies regarding asylum
7. See Resina in this volume, Brennans views on the state and the importance of management cited above, and also, Michael P. Smith, who, in his excellent Transnational Urbanism, contests David Harveys interpretation (or lack thereof) of state agency within globalizing processes: Despite its struggle, the state is given little or no autonomy in Harveys discourse, often being reduced to the role of symbolic representation of state power through myth-making, the mystication of its own lack of autonomy from capital, and the aestheticization of politics [Smith 27]. For more on territoriality and locality, see Appadurai. 8. For the connections between the supermodern nonplace and Agambens treatment of the camp, see below.

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seekers. The camp became a repository for refugees intercepted at sea; as Matthew Gibney observes, the practice of turning back boats before they could reach US waters (particularly those from Haiti) and thus return asylum seekers to their country of origin without processing their claims was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1994 [163]. Refugees who found themselves retained at the Guantanamo Bay center did not gain access to the normal constitutional protections that are due foreigners on American soil. This was because, strictly speaking, in the USs eyes, the base is not on its land. A 1999 decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this view when it found that, while Guantanamo Bay may be under American jurisdiction and control, it was not US territory [Jones, qtd. in Gibney 163]. As such, aliens held there had no legal rights under the domestic law of the US or under international law [Gibney 163]. The international legal status of people held at Guantanamo Bay has come under even more scrutiny with the establishment of Camp X-Ray, which was designed to interrogate and hold the so-called enemy combatants captured in the American-led war on terror. State anxiety arising from illegal immigrants arriving by sea is paramount as well in the case of Australia, where the state took interdiction and excision to a new levelin terms of both degree of response and the proximity to the state core. In September 2001, the country excised sections of its own territory. Christmas Island, Ashmore Reef, and Cocos Island were all affected as part of Australias strategy for stemming an increasing ow of illegal immigration. This act redened these islands migration zone status within the state, reducingbut not completely eliminatingAustralias international responsibilities to asylum seekers held there even as, importantly, it denied them access to the protection of the national courts [Gibney 189]. This reevaluation of sovereign space contracted Australias effective frontiersnot in a jurisdictional sense since the state maintained controlbut rather vis--vis the concept of what territory would remain within the domestic realm. The excision of the migration zone created a physical buffer oriented toward the outside so as to preserve the privileges and extended rights of the core, where the thus protected and fully empowered citizenry resided. A UNHRC map of the Australia Excision Zone as of November 2003 also shows a red security belt running the length of the countrys north shore, from Exmouth in Western Australia to Mackay in Queensland [Geographic Information and Mapping Unit]. With the excision zone and buffer established, Australia then actively sought to push the line even further back by enlisting Papua New Guinea and Nauru as screening sites for refugees headed toward Australia in an arrangement they called the Pacic Solution [Country Report Australia].9 In the case of Australia, then, one sees the interdiction practice of outward-oriented excision at perhaps its most drastic. The state preferred to dedomesticate territory rather than extend national privileges or rights to foreigners who made their way into that space. This unilateral, contractive approach was followed by a multilateral expansion after the fact that saw Australia try to extend the reach of its immigration ofcers to centers abroad and thus consolidate the buffer between domestic territory and a foreign space in which there would be no guarantees of successful admission to the intended country. Several European states have also resorted to territorial excision in order to help manage the ow of refugees and illegal migrants into their space, diminishing their responsibilities toward people who seek to enter and who would thus come under the
9. Papua New Guinea chose a remote island as the site of the Australian-funded screening center and when the UNHCR refused to participate in the screening process, Australia dispatched its own personnel to perform the status interviews [Country Report Australia 2002]. The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants further observes that in the fall of 2001, Australias military became involved in interdiction measures at sea by turning back boats carrying asylum seekers.

protection of internationally approved conventions of treatment. Such is the case in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and France, where the excised space was not some outer territory as with Australia, but rather to be found internally. More precisely, these European states have declared parts of their airports to be transit zones, international space in which ofcials are not obliged to provide asylum seekers or foreign individuals with some or all of the protections available to those ofcially on state territory [. . .] in order to enable speedy removal from the country [Kpatinde]. While an accelerated program of assessment is supposedly enacted under such circumstances, detention (or retention, as the French call it) is still a reality for many.10 So too, is the risk of removal without any due process whatsoever, exactly the scenario investigated in Switzerland in 1995 by the Geneva Coordination for the Right to Asylum. The group found that asylum seekers at Genevas Cointrin Airport had been expelled either before their cases were heard or before their legal term of detention at the airport had expired [Kpatinde]. Questions regarding spaces of transit and international travel are especially acute in regard to France, because the country has declared not only sectors of its airports as excised waiting zones but also parts of harbors and certain international railway stations [Country Report France]. Ofcials screen claimants at these ports in order to determine whether entry to the Republic and hence, application for asylum, will be permitted.11 In the meantime people are retained in these zones, waiting in limbo for the states bureaucracy to get around to them.12 In addition to the physical presence of guards, this situation exhibits a real, bureaucratically managed demarcation between the excised areas and the country proper. If an asylum seeker is allowed to enter France so that he/she may register at a local prefecture and attain an asylum application form, for example, a safe conduct passan internal passport of sortsis issued, but only for a period of six days [Country Report France]. When all of these provisions and procedures are considered together, Blanchots notion of enfermer le dehors through its constitution as an interiority of exception takes on a special and acute spatial resonance [qtd. in Agamben 18]. More than any other, the legal case of Amuur v. France, has focused the debate regarding the space of the state, internal excision and the legality of such a practice.
10. According to the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, oral hearings for asylum seekers in Germany should occur within forty-eight hours of arrival and, while no one ought to be held for more than nineteen days at the airport, there have been reports of detentions lasting months [Country Report Germany]. Ray Wilkinson notes that Germany does not consider holding people in international zones detention because they are always free to leavebut only back from whence they came [Wilkinson]. This is not a view shared by Kate Jastram and Marilyn Achiron who observe that Detention does not just involve jails. Detention is connement within a narrowly bounded or restricted location, which includes prisons, closed camps, public or privately operated detention facilities, hotel rooms, or airport transit zones, where freedom of movement is substantially curtailed and where the only opportunity to leave this limited area is to leave the territory of the asylum country [Achiron and Jastram]. 11. Amnesty International reports that, as of May 1995, there were 78 transit zones in France [Kpatinde]. According to Kpatinde, there are three groups of aliens who may be detained in these zones: Those who lack visas, guarantees of return and/or sufcient resources; those who, according to the French Air and Border Police, represent a threat to national security, including people who have been previously banned from French soil or who have been issued an expulsion order; and people listed in the European Unions computerized databank as a threat to the national security and international relations of a country that has signed the Schengen accords. 12. In perhaps the most widely publicized case of someone caught between states, Merhan Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian-born refugee without papers, spent several years living in Terminal One at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

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On 9 March 1992, four Somali nationals who had ed the country following the fall of the Barre regime arrived in Paris on a Syrian Airlines ight from Damascus. They were refused entry to France because their passports had been falsied, and the four were subsequently detained at the Htel Arcade, a section of which the Ministry of the Interior had rented and converted so that it could be used as a waiting area for the airport [Amuur v. France]. On 25 March the men were denied refugee status because they did not have temporary residence permits and thus did not fall under the protection of the state. Given that they were being held at the hotel, they were unable to obtain this document. Even though they had applied for a short notice order for their release from connement at the Htel Arcade on 26 March, three days later the men were sent back to Syria. Eventually, the case came before the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that the contention that people in international zones had not technically entered the country and thus could not fall under Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights had no merit in respect to how jurisdiction is dened [Mole 35]. In the Courts eyes, a states responsibilities regarding expulsion under Article 3 would come into play at the moment when the state takes action [35]. Importantly, the Amuur case hinged in large part on the applicants argument that their detention at a hotel commandeered by the French stateand thus appended de facto to the international zonewas unlawful. The ruling and this specic assertion regarding the hotel not only bring into question the practice of excision in general but also, at a rudimentary spatial level, highlight the problematic status of the nonplace within a supermodern context that has been reconditioned in a political sense by state policy and practice. The nonplace thus becomes much more than a zone of transit and accommodation or a waiting area used overwhelmingly by travelers-by-choice. In practical terms, transit zones in international airports extend from the runway to the rst border control checkpoint and may contain holding areas and spaces that provide hotel-like services [Kpatinde]. This observation raises the issue of the mechanics of detention in the case of an internal excision of national space. International bubbles may be created, but multiple points of intersection in the form of infrastructure, the power networks of the state, and the complicity of foreign carriers must still penetrate and pervade the space so as to reinforce this excision. These practices in France and other countries point to the states anxiety about securing frontier zones at the same time as they highlight the conicting legal opinions regarding the legitimacy of such measures as well as the expectation of free movement that an ostensibly globalizing and free-trade-driven marketplace demands. The Amuur case is valuable in that it implicates the state appropriation of nonplaces on different levels and clearly demonstrates that the hotelan archetypical space of the modern traveleris particularly well suited for integration into interdiction practices and is thus apt for an examination of how, in a rening of the more overt camp space, the latent political nature of these nonplaces is activated. The Hotel as Nonplace Of the many spaces of the built environment integral to the multiple processes of Western modernityof which one may cite the coffeehouse, the factory, the arcade, and the station among othersthe hotel has been the most underappreciated and least theorized.13 It has gured intimately in the physical and metaphoric compressions of time
13. Sigfried Kracauers The Hotel Lobby and Frederic Jamesons treatment of Los Angeless Bonaventure Hotel in Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism are notable exceptions.


and space that marked a spectacular growth in travel during the modernization of the West. In modernitys wake, the hotels more homogenous incarnation as tourist space has come to exemplify in many respects, along with the airport, the supermodern nonplace of the cosmopolitan traveler.14 States and their bureaucracies have played a mediating role in the spaces that have been crucial both to the compression of space/time and international exchange. As spaces where both travelers and goods began and ended their respective journeys as well as being frontiers of the state, stations, ports, and the zones that serviced them (either legally or not) were areas where identity could be veried and access/egress controlled. From the beginning, then, the experience of compressed time and space has been inected with state power and control, and it is here that one sees the modernist origins of the contractuality between individual and state apparatus that would later come to be a sign of the nonplace in Marc Augs theory of the supermodern, as well as the roots of this contractualitys latent political capacity. That said, however, the role of the state in this management of compressionone of the markers of the modern experiencewas not the only factor. Compression was relaxed in these spaces as well. Delays notwithstanding, for the user, the physical experiences of stations and ports were predominantly transitory and eeting.15 Through these spaces the traveler could access an increasingly rapid delivery system that would then disgorge him/her into a different space according to a regimented schedule. If the compression experience was the one most immediate to long-distance movement and travel through space, how would one characterize the zone where the voyagers experience of time-space returned to a more normal pace, in relative terms? I suggest that we may also speak of a space of decompression, of a threshold space that exists in the aftermath of movement between the compression experience and the relative stasis of being-thereno matter how much more accelerated that state of being may have become or may be in the process of becoming. The ratied state of being-thereof having arrivedexperienced by one who travels by choice is precisely what is denied the migrant or refugee either through the aforementioned contraction of state space through territorial excision or the states management of specic nonplaces, or both. An important aspect of the spatial effect that set the old-fashioned grand hotel apart from areas such as the stations concourses or platforms was that it delayed or suspended the potential moment of contact between the local and global. As a site of decompression, then, the larger hotels from the pre-WWII period epitomized a space where the compression of distance and time was relaxed and where the possibility of contact was attenuated through dtente and presence, all in the context of a space that had accrued identity and cachet as a destination unto itself and that was connected with its locality while at the same time serving as a bridge space to the global. In short, they
14. The hotel has its roots in the rudimentary accommodation accorded travelers in the ancient world. Caravansaries were integral parts of trade routes, offering shelter and protection on the road and serving as tax collection points within cities walls [Denby 1112]. During Roman times, bare bones tavernae as well as the better-considered hospitae provided shelter to voyagers [14]. 15. For the turn of the twentieth-century tourist, (or non-exilic elite, to use Brennans term [At Home 37]), the experience of compression was closely linked to the aesthetics of the artistic and technological avant-gardes. It was the cinematic experience of the railcar, where the window-framed landscape became a lm at speed [Kern 118]; or the view from the ships deck, where an unchanging horizon was offset by the wake, indicative of progress; or that from an airplane, the ultimate site of topographical apprehension. The physical and psychic manifestations of compression spaces contribute to what Stephen Kern identies as the transformation of the dimensions of life and thought that occurred as a result of the rapid technological and cultural innovations at the turn of the twentieth century [12].

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took on the characteristics of what we now would identify as a place.16 While the pre-WWII grand hotel represented the rst great height of hotel opulence and established many of the codes of hospitality, hygiene, and tourism related to travel-by-choice, by no means did it remain the only model of hotel space. Just as the grand hotels served to reproduce specic codes of behavior, service, and distinctive spatial experience, the much more homogenous chain hotels, which took root and multiplied as long-distance travel became more affordable and easy following WWII, realigned the experience of the space away from that of a destination per se and toward its status as a way-point that would defy distinction or differentiation on account of its base functionality.17 As the opposite of a relational space, this new type began to assume the characteristics of what, rightly or wrongly, has become known as a nonplace. This qualitative change saw the experience of decompression evolve also, as it would come to encompass the anonymous characteristic of the nonplace that Aug articulates when he states that The space of nonplaces creates neither singular identity nor relations; only solitude and similitude [Non-places 103].18 Spatial homogeneity grew apace with the demand for cheap and safe lodgings that the subsequent boom in lower-level hotel chains addressed.19 I would suggest that the proliferation of purely functionalist chain hotels contributed in no small way to the perceived multiplication of Augs supermodern nonplaces. In this manner, the evolution of the built space of the hotel mirrored the movement toward postmodern forms that was occurring in other disciplines.20 Architecturally speakingand Jameson pointed this out in his reading of Los Angeless Bonaventure Hotel [3845]an important feature of postmodernity is that the new tensions it produces are not limited merely to the individuals experience of confusion. Rather, in addition to producing instability at the level of the subject, the tensions are codied in the built environment as well. Architectural critic Vittorio Gregotti sees popularization as a corollary effect of what, for his part, he labels hypermodern culture and its inuence on the built environment. For Gregotti, architecture no longer aims for the constitution of critical tension, but rather a natural relationship with the tastes of the masses [8]. He further contends that:

16. According to Aug, places can be considered as being relational, historical and concerned with identity [7778]. Grand hotels such as the Paris Ritz and London Savoy may have been beacons for international activity and, in the case of the Ritz empire, parts of high-class chains, but nevertheless they maintained a local connection that saw them acquire monumental status and even function metonymically in many cases for their respective cities as well as for the upper class in general. Such was the connection between the Ritz name and the capitalist lifestyle of luxury and privilege that Catalan anarchists renamed the Barcelona Ritz Hotel Gastronmic No. 1 (Gastronomic Hotel #1) when they requisitioned it during the Spanish Civil War. 17. This is not to say that standardization was not a part of the architectural traits of the prewar hotel. See Pfueller Davidson for the early twentieth-century origins of postwar standardization. 18. This, of course, is but one perspective of these spaces, a vision that Peter Merriman calls a description of a particular kind of generic travellers experiences of a series of distinct spaces [149]. It is one that leaves aside the potentially place-making discourses of those who work in and maintain these spaces, for example. Aug would recognize this element in a later piece; see Airports [8]. 19. This dynamic would become a norm that would not be challenged by a return to local specicity on a large scale until the late 1990s, with the advent and expansion of the boutique hotel phenomenon. 20. The simulacra hotels of Las Vegas that reproduce famous monuments and parts of world cities represent the postmodern hotel taken to the furthest degree.


After almost two centuries of merging creativity and critical conscience as the basis of modernity, it is important to emphasize the present attempt by hypermodern culture to render architectural culture (and not only architectural culture) homogenous with the social order. [10] The trend toward such a natural relationship founded in the functionality of the built environment (and not organicism, as the word natural may seem to suggest) dovetails with the democratization of travel and Augs subsequent related insistence that the space of the traveler has become an archetype of his supermodern nonplace. For the Frenchman, this supermodernity exposes individual consciousness to entirely new experiences and ordeals of solitude, directly linked with the appearance and proliferation of non-places [Aug, Non-places 93]. These include spaces formed in relation to certain ends (such as transport, transit, commerce or leisure) and, as such, have a quantiable aspect that shows categorically the measurements of social trajectories [94].21 While this seemingly functional, positivistic characteristic is one facet of the nonplace, another comprises the relations between the individual and these spaces, one that Aug sums up conveniently when he states that as anthropological places create the organically social, so nonplaces create solitary contractuality, the possible modernist roots of which I alluded to above [94]. If one accepts the limits of Augs conceptualization of the actors who experience the nonplace, the merely functional, cookie-cutter style of lodging, the social and cultural meaning of which has been stripped down to its essential contract of temporary space for money or credit, neatly epitomizes this aspect of the nonplaces supermodern nature. The democratization of travel, the increasing homogeneity of postwar spaces related to transportespecially that of the hoteland the blurring of aesthetic and experiential lines between the resulting nonspaces (that is, terminals merging into lounges into lobbies, and so forth) reinforce Augs notion that the act of traveling and the experience of the nonplace are intimately connected.22 At this point, the intersections between contemporary state anxiety and the phenomenon of the travel-oriented nonplace become clear. Airports, stations, and hotels are all spaces occupied by those in transit. They are ports of access, staging grounds for activity by nonresidents and hence represent areas of particular concern. That these spaces create physical clusters is also germane to the states management of its own space and, as is evident in the case of countries for which internal territorial excision has become a regular practice, there is a distinct relationship between nonplaces and the states determination to map its own sovereign trajectory through spatial manipulation regardless of international conventions. This can result in the drastic action of an apparent geographic contraction of state sovereignty on the one extreme and, on a lesser scale, the commandeering of specic spaces for precise state purposes. In the case of the hotel, what was once a space of modernist decompression and upper-class transculturation can become, then, an air21. For a critique of this aspect of Augs theory, which points to the ambiguity between objective/subjective and quantiable/qualitative relations between nonplaces and places, see Merriman 15051. In my view, by activating nonplaces politically, the state will assimilate them into its own trajectory. 22. The Vancouver Airport is at the vanguard of the evolution of the nonplace. Not only does the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotels lobby extend directly into the US departures area, but the hotel mirrors the literal and gurative sterilized nature of the airport nonplace: it is one of the few hotels to offer hyperallergenic rooms. Additionally, the airport has become the rst to install individual sleeping pods, known as Metronaps which travelers can rent for short periods in the international departure areathus fully merging the hotel room and the terminal [Engle K11].

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lock for the state, a nonplace that has seen its latent political and authoritarian potential activated through policing and policies of containment. In his original conceptualization of the nonplace, Aug limits his reading of these spaces to the experience of what one can call authorized travelers. Given the themes that I have broached in this essay, and the doubts regarding the comprehensiveness of Augs theories about social actors, this is a signicant limitation. For Aug, an inherent part of the contract that an individual assumes in order to enter a nonplace is that he/ she must be innocent [Non-places 102]. Reading the space of the hotel through the lens of interdiction and other state practices shows the extent to which this take on the nonplace needs to be supplemented. And while the use of the Htel Arcade as part of a process of spatial excision, as demonstrated in the Amuur case, was ultimately found to be an unlawful manipulation of French territory the use of hotel space elsewhere for interdiction and detention has been integrated into the states prescribed parameters of frontier management. A brief description of this type of use in Canada may be helpful in assessing how a state can inect the nonplace politically and its effects on the unauthorized traveler. As a leader in the successful preemptive interdiction practice of controlling unauthorized immigration at its sources, it is surprising that Canada has been slow off the mark in terms of the creation of purpose-built immigration detention centers. While the sinisterly named Centre de la prvention de limmigration operates in Laval, Qubec, up until very recently, the principal holding center in TorontoCanadas busiest entry-point by airwas the Celebrity Inn. Formerly the Avion, the Celebrity is a typical airport hotel located close to Terminal 3 at Lester B. Pearson International Airport. It has not been a run-of-the-mill establishment, however: in addition to lodging regular travelers in one wing, it also served as a secure detention area for those who had arrived without proper identication and for immigrants who had been placed in Citizenship and Immigration Canadas removal stream and were awaiting deportation.23 That two distinct types of travelers shared what was essentially the same space, save for the locked door leading to the detention wing, yet had very different experiences points to signcant lacunae in Augs base theories of the nonplace. While the traveler in the homogenous airport hotel may indeed relax in this nonplaces gentle form of possession to which he surrenders himself [. . . and . . .] tastes for a whilelike anyone who is possessedthe passive joys of identity-loss, those detainees who nd themselves in the exact same space are confronted by the fact that, in their case, the emptying of individuality at the site where supermodernity meets state anxiety truly is
23. How the hotel came to become an important center for state control practices in the Canadian system is indicative of the progression in interdiction and immigrant management processes as they pertain to spatial management as well as to policy development. Originally, the Celebrity Inn was a carrier-run operation, with the state airline, Air Canada, responsible for the costs associated with the management and upkeep of the detention areas. Faced with the increasing need to liaise with other airlines and process their illegal arrivals, as well as the changing nature of detention (that is, the need to accommodate visa overstays who would be held pending hearings and appeals), the company quit this part of the interdiction business. Detention then became a publicly tendered three-year contract, one that, over time, came to represent very lucrative business for the successful company. Thus, a closer look at the practical aspects of the management of this space reveals a public-private arrangement that blurs even further how the state viewed the status of those held in the detention hotel. In 2004, the Celebrity Inn ceased to function as a detention center when the no-less-ironically named Heritage Inn, another hotel, but one that had been specically modied for facilitating processing services in addition to detention, opened its doors. The newly created Canadian Border Service now administers all aspects of irregular immigration. I thank Doug Kellam for providing me with information regarding the history of the Celebrity Inn.


an ordeal of solitude [93]. In their precarious setting, between arriving and arrival or departing and departure, the sound of air trafc serves as a constant reminder that their innocence, to use Augs term, has not been established, and as such, the state has not ratied their status as a refugee, migrant or even as a traveler. The contractuality that they experience, then, is imposed, not chosen.24 Movement is thus managed through a state policy that enforces the nonplaces experience of solitude; unlike that of the authorized traveler, it is not theirs to enjoy at their leisure. What is more, what Aug sees as a taking up [of] a position in the experience of movement is co-opted by the states own positioning in terms of its existing practices and future desires. The Celebrity Inn, in addition to being a hybrid travel zone, represents a key moment in the cross-over between state improvisation with existing built space and the construction of purpose-built interdiction institutions; it straddles the temporary division between reactive and planned responses. Nowhere better than here, then, can one see Agambens ultimate extension of the camp, which has been securely lodged within the citys interior [Agamben 176]. This evolution in Canadian immigration prevention and interdiction policy from the use of the requisitioned Celebrity Inn to the adoption of the purpose-built Heritage Inn detention facility can thus be viewed as a representative case of the birthing process of what the Italian philosopher identies as the new biopolitical nomos of the planet [176]. Conclusion Interdiction or migration management is a disavowal of free movement based on the perceived sovereign rights of nation-states to control their space. As mass transportation has evolved, so too have the entry-points into the state. This phenomenon has coincided with the growth and development of nonplaces, particular manifestations of the built environment that have challenged established spatial practice and imposed new experiences on the subject, particularly the traveler, even as it becomes clearer and clearer that their exact denition is much less xed than Aug originally conceived.25 As urban and interurban junctions, though, two prototypical nonplacesthe airport and the hotelought to help make the urban comprehensible, and thus function like the nodes that Kevin Lynch describes in his seminal study, The Image of the City. For Lynch, though, the notion of continuity in movementtrajectoryto which nodal spaces ostensibly contribute, is contingent on decision-making, the manner in which, one assumes, the node acquires its directional charge [Lynch 74]. Continuity in this sense thus relies on orientation and a degree of agency, no matter how mediated or
24. We must not forget the textual element present in Augs conceptualization of the nonplace. For him, nonplaces have the peculiarity that they are dened partly by the words and texts they offer us: the instructions for use (prescriptive, prohibitive, informative) [96]. When a nonplace like a terminal or hotel is requisitioned by the state for interdiction or ow management purposes, this textual component is transposed following the initial, key exhortations that a traveler show valid identication and the requisite permits. Once failure at this stage has occurred, questions of textuality are displaced from the immediate environment of the nonplace since messages such as boarding announcements, advertising, and customer service information no longer apply. The issue of text for the unauthorized traveler instead becomes one related to documentation: applications, appeals, and in some cases, litigation. The bureaucratic mechanisms of the state management apparatus are unavoidable. 25. In his article About Non-places, which was published in 1995, Aug acknowledges an important mutability of the nonplace, stating that: beyond the relativeness of the place/nonplace oppositiondepending on the hour or usage or subject, a place can become a non-place and vice-versa [82].

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programmed. When the state commandeers the experience and decision-making power of the nonplace, already apparently a homogenized, locality-defeating zone, and infuses it (or better yet, in the case of excision, surrounds it) with its own power, spatial comprehensibility and, by extension, continuity are compromised. Under these conditions, then, the nonplace functions more as a depolarized node for those at the mercy of the state, one that does not provide even minimal relational stability but, rather, acts as a stasis eld in which referentiality is strictly managed from without and within by administrative control and its proxies.26 As the brief examples of Frances excision of internal space and the Canadian policy of integrating the nonplace of the hotel into its detention and immigration prevention strategies show, even though mass homogeneity may suggest a blurring of one nonplace into another with little or no differentiation, these spaces have not lost their intrinsic frontier qualities, their ability to function as the vanishing point of the stateto exclude. These spaces are certainly manifestations of a state of exception, a dislocating localization but they are not camps [Agamben 175]. By nature and necessity, they are selectively poroustraversable spaces for some, impenetrable membranes for others. That the state has learned to commandeer, manage, and condition these spaces at a variety of levels while playing within the boundaries of national and international law to varying degrees points not only to the nation-states continued relevance to citizens and noncitizens at the most basic levelthat is, movementbut also to the political latency inherent in the modern and supermodern processes that, according to some, are leading us further toward a marketcentric world in which borders as we have known them no longer function nor matter. The physical experience of the nonplace by the dis-placed is yet another sign that this transformation is far from comprehensive. WORKS CITED Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998. Amuur v. France. European Court of Human Rights 1996. Appadurai, Arjun. Sovereignty without Territoriality: Notes for a Postnational Geography. The Anthropology of Space and Place: Locating Culture. Ed. Setha M. Low and Denise Lawrence-Ziga. London: Blackwell, 2003. 33750. Ataner, Attila. Refugee Interdiction and the Outer Limits of Sovereignty. Journal of Law and Equity 3.1 (2004): 729. Aug, Marc. About Non-places. Architectural Design 66.1112 (1995): 8283. ________ . Airports. City A-Z. Ed. Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift. London: Routledge, 2000. 89. ________ . Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. Trans. John Howe. London: Verso, 1995. Badiou, Alain. Logic of the Site. Diacritics 33.34 (2003): 14150. Balibar, tienne. Europe, an Unimagined Frontier of Democracy. Diacritics 33.34 (2003): 3644. ________ . We, the People of Europe? Reections on Transnational Citizenship. Trans. James Swenson. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2004. Bosteels, Bruno. Nonplaces: An Anecdoted Topography of Contemporary French Theory. Diacritics 33.34 (2003): 11739.
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