15 October 2007, Aotearoa: Race, Terror and Sovereignty

Vijay Devadas


This paper discusses the anti-terror raids conducted on 15 October 2007 in Aotearoa through an exploration of the online print media coverage of the raids on that same day as well as the policing techniques employed. These two key instruments of state power and legitimacy, I argue, sought to produce a racialised moral panic around terrorism. Drawing on the works of Mbembe, Agamben, and Foucault, I examine the media practice as media necropower at work and the arrests in terms of state of exception and biopower to suggest that the racialisation of terror is a deliberate strategy of consolidating the sovereignty of the nation-state, a sovereignty preconditioned upon racism. The coverage of the event and the policing techniques both animates and perpetuates a racialised sovereignty that is foundational to the legitimacy of the postcolonial nation-state.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol5iss1id83