Self-harm in Turin’s Centre for undocumented migrants (CPR): The camp, agency, and subjectivation
Italian detention centres for undocumented migrants (Centri di Permanenza per il Rimpatrio - CPRs) have received little attention in the field of social sciences. This article focuses on the issue of self-harm, unanimously reported to be a very frequent phenomenon in these centres. Our aim is to research the conditions under which selfharming conducts can be exposed in their fully-fledged political dimension. These conditions will be laid out, on the one hand, through an analysis of the CPR system; on the other, through a critical examination of the concepts of “camp” and “agency”, with reference to the work of Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault. If these places “of exception” seem to constrict the agency of the detainees to the point of abolishing the field of the political, self-harming conducts – whatever the subjective reasons behind them – detect the biopolitical core of these institutions, thus showing their own intrinsic and “objective” politicity.
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