Tag: Agamben

The Tragic Transparency of the Virus

  Today’s cultural, political and ideological debates are imbued with a strange opacity, the result of their remove from the concrete day-to-day experience of the vast majority of people — ordinary citizens, or la gente de a pie, as they say in Latin America. That is especially the case with politics, which is supposed to…

Must Society be Defended from Agamben?

Many European countries have by now been in lockdown for more than a week. This has given everyone ample time to reflect on our current condition. Many of the world’s leading critical thinkers have shared their thoughts with us through op-eds, blog posts, and so on. Among the more troubling are three opinion pieces Giorgio…

Against Agamben: Is a Democratic Biopolitics Possible?

Giorgio Agamben’s recent intervention which characterizes the measures implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as an exercise in the biopolitics of the ‘state of exception’ has sparked an important debate on how to think of biopolitics. The very notion of biopolitics, as it was formulated by Michel Foucault, has been a very important contribution to our…

The Case Against Agamben’s Impotence

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Another appraisal of Aristotle´s configuration of potentiality and actuality and the latter as a division between Entelecheia and Energeia may open up a new consideration of being and power. Through it, we may dispel Agamben´s interpretation of power that shrouds political action in impotence. When we read Energeia as power without transcendent finality, contingency, as…

Giorgio Agamben: Stasis

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Key Concept At a time when the world seems to be rejecting the universalist neo-liberal logic of governance to embrace various modes of cultural, political, socio-economical, and juridical nationalisms, an engagement with Giorgio Agamben’s concept of stasis becomes all the more urgent. If there is indeed one message to be taken from Agamben’s study of…

Giorgio Agamben: Oath

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Key Concept Today, the oath seems to us obscure and obsolete. As an enigmatic relic of earlier times, it invokes the authority of sacred and supernatural powers that go beyond the scope of human capabilities, and by doing so it realizes its aim—namely, truth-telling. Since these powers are no longer as effective as they used…

Agamben: The Messianic Kingdom

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Key Concept In “The Messiah and the Sovereign: The Problem of Law in Walter Benjamin,” Agamben explicitly addresses the difference between the state of exception in which we are living where the law is in force, but does not signify anything, and the real state of exception that somehow has the “potentiality” to overcome the…

Sovereign Exception: Notes on the Thought of Giorgio Agamben

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Key Concept Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, the first book of his multi-volume Homo Sacer project, urges a reconsideration of theories of sovereignty as put forward ‘from Hobbes to Rousseau’ (1998: 109). The theory of sovereign power offered by the book is based on the state of exception (as in Schmitt[1])…

On Destroying What Destroys You: An Interview with Thomas Nail

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Thomas Nail is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver and author of The Figure of the Migrant (Stanford University Press, 2015) and Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari, and Zapatismo (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). His publications can be accessed at: udenver​.academia​.edu/​T​h​o​m​a​s​N​ail One may see the aims of Hostis* and feel a tinge of…

For fragments, and not debts, we are

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We are epicurean fragments and not debts, our life is not the life of rights (as debts that will never be paid), but of their use.It may be the case that one could note the peculiar appearance of the thinking minister. A thinking minister is not suddenly a liberated or a good minister, but at…

Homo Sacer: The Last Act (L’Uso dei Corpi)

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Agamben’s L’uso dei Corpi—forthcoming in English translation as The Usage of Bodies—will be the last chapter of his 20-year-long research.Giorgio Agamben has abandoned Homo sacer. By his own admission in the foreword to his book, and having so acknowledged in the first lecture of his 2014 seminar at the European Graduate School, his latest L’uso dei…

For a Theory of Destituent Power

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“… While a constituent power destroys law only to recreate it in a new form, destituent power, in so far as it deposes once and for all the law, can open a really new historical epoch …” Transcript of lecture delivered by Agamben in Athens, 16.11.2013.A reflection on the destiny of democracy today here in…

On Agamben’s Politics and Theology

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An inter­viewColby Dickinson and Adam Kotsko recently did an interview on Agamben for the Brazilian publication Unisinos, which was translated into Portuguese and recently published. They decided to publish the original English transcript for the benefit of non-Portuguese speakers on An und für sich. 1. What is the peculiarity of the link between philosophy and theology…

The Dis-enclosure of Constituent Power: Tunisia, Agamben & Nancy

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In much of the conventional analysis, constituent power is used to signify an opening of constitutionalism to its other. It is framed as an alterity that legitimates and facilitates the constitution. As such, the constituent moment has an intensely temporal quality. It is either always-already past or it is to come. Either way, its alterity…