Woman Q

Woman Q first migrated when she was three years old, to meet with her parents who had previously migrated to the United States. She was granted a visa before she left and traveled with her grandparents. After living in the United States and attending elementary school, Woman Q returned to Guatemala when she was ten. Now, she wants to migrate to Spain because in Guatemala she is a psychologist but cannot find employment.

“…In contrast to more traditional forms of domination such as slavery or serfdom, discipline allows for the increase of the economic productivity of the body, while at the same time weakening its forces to assure political subjection” (Lemke 36).

Focault describes an important aspect of biopower to be about the practice of discipline. This revolves around entering people into systems  “such as the army, prisons, schools, and hospitals,”  where people could be both catalogued, monitored and – not directly controlled – but taught or shown how to act (Lemke 37). These system, which became necessary to enter in order to live were “without question an indispensable element in the development of capitalism; the latter would not have been possible without the controlled insertion of bodies into the machinery of production and the adjustment of the phenomena of population to economic processes” (Foucault 141-142). 

In this sense, Woman Q has bounced between systems of production, and now currently finds herself not fitting the machinery of production that Guatemalan utilizes – especially with regards to what role women should play in the society. This inability to provide labor, an essential part of belonging into a political system under biopolitics, not only reduce someone to bare life but can also, in the process of economic migration, drive them to enter into a new political system that might provide them labor – but still strip them of rights.