Waterstones Homo Sacer

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Waterstones Homo Sacer
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Description: The work of Giorgio Agamben, one of Italy's most important and original philosophers, has been based on an uncommon erudition in classical traditions of philosophy and rhetoric, the grammarians of late antiquity, Christian theology, and modern philosophy. Recently, Agamben has begun to direct his thinking to the constitution of the social and to some concrete, ethico-political conclusions concerning the state of society today, and the place of the individual within it. In Homo Sacer, Agamben aims to connect the problem of pure possibility, potentiality, and power with the problem of political and social ethics in a context where the latter has lost its previous religious, metaphysical, and cultural grounding. Taking his cue from Foucault's fragmentary analysis of biopolitics, Agamben probes with great breadth, intensity, and acuteness the covert or implicit presence of an idea of biopolitics in the history of traditional political theory. He argues that from the earliest treatises of political theory, notably in Aristotle's notion of man as a political animal, and throughout the history of Western thinking about sovereignty (whether of the king or the state), a notion of sovereignty as power over life is implicit. The reason it remains merely implicit has to do, according to Agamben, with the way the sacred, or the idea of sacrality, becomes indissociable from the idea of sovereignty. Drawing upon Carl Schmitt's idea of the sovereign's status as the exception to the rules he safeguards, and on anthropological research that reveals the close interlinking of the sacred and the taboo, Agamben defines the sacred person as one who can be killed and yet not sacrificed-a paradox he sees as operative in the status of the modern individual living in a system that exerts control over the collective naked life of all individuals.

 

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Product ID: 9780804732185

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ISBN: 9780804732185

 
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Author: RiRed

Rating: 5

Review: Arrived on time. It was like described.

 

Author: ldxar1

Rating: 3

Review: This is an extremely heavy philosophical text which is not for beginners or those unfamiliar with continental philosophy. The basic thesis Agamben advances is that sovereignty (hence state power) is constructed through the exclusion (which is simultaneously an inclusion-as-exception) of "bare life", which is to say, the body and relations of force. This exclusion returns in the figure of sovereign power (as law-making and thus as excess over law) and its construction of homo sacer, a type of subject who can be "killed but not sacrificed" (and who is thus outside both profane and sacred law). Homo sacer reaches his apogee in the camp, such as Nazi concentration camps. The camp is the "paradigm" of the modern state, and homo sacer and the "state of exception" in which the state suspends basic rights is becoming the normal condition of politics. There are several problems here. The first is that Agamben is prone to argue by assertion and exegesis. The result is that his claims are largely unsupported and "take it or leave it" - either you're convinced by his account or you aren't. The second is that he doesn't draw political conclusions from what is obviously a political subject. If the state of exception and homo sacer are inherent to state sovereignty as such, Agamben's thesis would seem to be a powerful case for anarchism, yet he never draws any such implication, nor addresses the corresponding question of how else bodies can be "politicised". Thirdly, the thesis isn't really as original as Agamben seems to think - it's a repetition of themes arising in the work of A. Hirschman, John Zerzan, ecofeminists such as Robyn Eckersley, the Frankfurt School (e.g. Adorno and Horkheimer's "Dialectic of Enlightenment"), and a host of other authors dealing with the exclusion of the "natural", the emotional and the embodied from masculine, industrial, or public institutions. An engagement with such prior literature would have strengthened Agamben's case, not least in allowing him to show how his thesis differs from theirs, and what precisely is added by ideas such as homo sacer and bare life.

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The Book Depository Homo Sacer by Giorgio Agamben

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Description: Homo Sacer : Paperback : Stanford University Press : 9780804732185 : 0804732183 : 01 Apr 1998 : One of Italy's most original philosophers aims to connect the problem of pure possibility, potentiality, and power with the problem of political and social ethics in a context where the latter has lost its previous religious, metaphysical, and cultural grounding. The Book Depository Homo Sacer by Giorgio Agamben - shop the best deal online on thebookbug.co.uk

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