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This chapter examines the technique of the curfew as a mode of governance. The chapter draws together many historical, literary, ethnographic and policy studies of particular curfews to demonstrate the significance and explore the meaning of the distinction curfews establish between a brief and temporary (usually nocturnal) form of sanctuary, and the declared spaces and times of emergency. This separation of sanctuary and emergency is argued to augment the power of law through the creation of desire for law's certainty and more predictable forms of violence manifest in the day. The chapter links the premodern curfew to its modern forms, and uses contemporary critical theory and political theory about emergency to understand what role the night plays in the efficacy and political limits of this political technology.

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