Tampa: Violence at the border

Maria Giannacopoulos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article is concerned with exposing the necessary relation between law and violence with reference to the events of Tampa in 2001. The Federal Court played a pivotal role in violently yet legally excluding the Tampa refugees from Australia. The judgement 'found' that the executive power of the government to exclude transcended all other forms of law that may have had relevance in this matter. This decision had the effect of further elevating executive power to a realm where it was/is insulated from critical inquiry. I therefore take a deconstructive approach to this decision to foreground that the way in which the Federal Court invoked and narrated law as mystical was necessary in order to erase not only the law's violent constitution, but to rid itself of culpability in producing racial violence against refugees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Critique of law
  • Deconstruction
  • Executive power
  • Law
  • Refugees
  • Violence


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