Subject to Choice, Labyrinth of (Un)freedom

T. Fujitani

in Race for Empire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262232
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950368 | DOI:
Subject to Choice, Labyrinth of (Un)freedom

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This chapter analyzes the campaign for army volunteers and the linked political ritual called “registration,” together with the questionnaires that served as its key instruments, in order to demonstrate how they reflect rather than contradict the positive methods of liberal governmentality in managing rather than simply restricting freedom. It argues that the fundamental and new premise of the questionnaires—with their key questions asking for willingness to soldier and unqualified allegiance to the nation—required the active participation of internees as free subjects making rational decisions, not as slaves or nonhuman objects displaying passive obedience. This premise fundamentally contradicted the original assumption behind the evacuation, which was that the Japanese were like animals without subjectivity.

Keywords: army volunteers; registration; Japanese Americans; racism; liberal governmentality; freedom; questionnaries

Chapter.  16450 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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