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Browsing by Author "Paakkanen, Eeva Katariina"

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  • Paakkanen, Eeva Katariina (2014)
    In this thesis, there are two linked research questions concerning the use of torture: Why the use of torture changed from a common legal practice to an act prohibited by international law, and why the United States, a modern, western state that advocates human rights, has used torture in the 21st century despite this? I have used sociological and legal approaches to analyse and answer these questions, utilising especially concepts developed by Foucault. I have chosen these approaches, since I will present torture as an inherently unequal act, which is connected to the power-structures of societies. I will concentrate on analysing this relation and the role of human rights in it. The use of torture has undergone a drastic change from being a common practice to an act strictly prohibited by international law, but the use of which has still in practice re-emerged. These changed can be explained by the changes in the different ruling powers in the society – first, the decreased influence of sovereign power and dominance of disciplinary and governmental powers, and then the re-emergence of the sovereign power and its use of security discourses and mechanisms to regain its powers. Human rights have played part in both of these processes at the national level by being part of new forms of governing and also as a justification sovereign power, and also at the international level by being a restrictive element but also as a tool for the sovereign power.