Giorgio Agamben

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Giorgio Agamben
Giorgio Agamben, wall portrait.jpg
Wall painting of Agamben at the Abode of Chaos, France
Born (1942-04-22) 22 April 1942 (age 72)
Rome, Italy
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Main interests Aesthetics
Political philosophy
Notable ideas Homo sacer
"state of exception"
"whatever singularity", "la vita nuda", auctoritas, form-of-life, the zoebios distinction as the "fundamental categorial pair of Western politics,"[1] the "paradox of sovereignty"[2]
Influences
Influenced

Giorgio Agamben (Italian: [aˈɡambɛn]; born 22 April 1942) is an Italian Continental philosopher best known for his work investigating the concepts of the state of exception,[3] form-of-life and homo sacer. The concept of biopolitics (borrowed from Michel Foucault) informs many of his writings.

Biography[edit]

Agamben was educated at the University of Rome, where he wrote an unpublished thesis on the political thought of Simone Weil. Agamben participated in Martin Heidegger's Le Thor seminars (on Heraclitus and Hegel) in 1966 and 1968.[4] In the 1970s, he worked primarily on linguistics, philology, poetics, and topics in medieval culture. During this period, Agamben began to elaborate his primary concerns, although their political bearings were not yet made explicit. In 1974–1975 he was a fellow at the Warburg Institute, University of London, due to the courtesy of Frances Yates, whom he met through Italo Calvino. During this fellowship, Agamben began to develop his second book, Stanzas (1977).

Agamben was close to the poets Giorgio Caproni and José Bergamín, and to the Italian novelist Elsa Morante, to whom he devoted the essays "The Celebration of the Hidden Treasure" (in The End of the Poem) and "Parody" (in Profanations). He has been a friend and collaborator to such eminent intellectuals as Pier Paolo Pasolini (in whose The Gospel According to St. Matthew he played the part of Philip), Italo Calvino (with whom he collaborated, for a short while, as counsellor of the publishing house Einaudi and developed plans for a journal), Ingeborg Bachmann, Pierre Klossowski, Guy Debord, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Derrida, Antonio Negri, Jean-François Lyotard and others.

His strongest influences include Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault. Agamben edited Benjamin's collected works in Italian translation until 1996, and called Benjamin's thought "the antidote that allowed me to survive Heidegger."[5] In 1981, Agamben discovered several important lost manuscripts by Benjamin in the archives of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Benjamin had left these manuscripts to Georges Bataille when he fled Paris shortly before his death. The most relevant of these to Agamben's own later work were Benjamin's manuscripts for his theses On the Concept of History.[6] Agamben has engaged since the nineties in a debate with the political writings of the German jurist Carl Schmitt, most extensively in the study State of Exception (2003). His recent writings also elaborate on the concepts of Michel Foucault, whom he calls "a scholar from whom I have learned a great deal in recent years".[7]

Agamben's political thought was originally founded on his readings of Aristotle's Politics, Nicomachean Ethics, and treatise On the Soul, as well as the exegetical traditions concerning these texts in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In his later work, Agamben intervenes in the theoretical debates following the publication of Nancy's essay La communauté désoeuvrée (1983),[8] and Maurice Blanchot's response, La communauté inavouable (1983). These texts analyzed the notion of community at a time when the European Community was under debate. Agamben proposed his own model of a community which would not presuppose categories of identity in The Coming Community (1990). At this time, Agamben also analyzed the ontological condition and "political" attitude of Bartleby (from Herman Melville's short story) — a scrivener who does not react, and "prefers not" to write.

Currently, Agamben is teaching at Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio (Università della Svizzera Italiana) and has taught at the Università IUAV di Venezia, the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland; he previously taught at the University of Macerata and at the University of Verona, both in Italy.[9] He also has held visiting appointments at several American universities, from the University of California, Berkeley, to Northwestern University, Evanston, and at Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf. Agamben received the Prix Européen de l'Essai Charles Veillon in 2006.[10]

Work[edit]

Much of Giorgio Agamben's work since the 1980s can be viewed to leading up to the so-called Homo Sacer-project, that properly begins with the book Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. In this series of works, Agamben responds to Hannah Arendt's and Foucault's studies of totalitarianism and biopolitics. Since 1995 he has been best known for this ongoing project, the volumes of which have been published out of order, and which currently include:[11]

In the final volume of the series, Agamben intends to address "the concepts of forms-of-life and lifestyles." "What I call a form-of-life," he explains, "is a life which can never be separated from its form, a life in which it is never possible to separate something like bare life. [...] [H]ere too the concept of privacy comes in to play."[14]

If human beings were or had to be this or that substance, this or that destiny, no ethical experience would be possible... This does not mean, however, that humans are not, and do not have to be, something, that they are simply consigned to nothingness and therefore can freely decide whether to be or not to be, to adopt or not to adopt this or that destiny (nihilism and decisionism coincide at this point). There is in effect something that humans are and have to be, but this is not an essence nor properly a thing: It is the simple fact of one's own existence as possibility or potentiality...

[15]

The reduction of life to 'biopolitics' is one of the main threads in Agamben's work, in his critical conception of a homo sacer, reduced to 'bare life', and thus deprived of any rights. Agamben's concept of the homo sacer rests on a crucial distinction in Greek between 'bare life' (la vita nuda, Gk. ζωή: zoê) and 'a particular mode of life' or 'qualified life.' In Part III, section 7 of Homo Sacer, “The Camp as the 'Nomos' of the Modern”, he evokes the concentration camps of World War II. “The camp is the space that is opened when the state of exception begins to become the rule.” Agamben says that "What happened in the camps so exceeds (is outside of) the juridical concept of crime that the specific juridico-political structure in which those events took place is often simply omitted from consideration." The conditions in the camps were "conditio inhumana," and the incarcerated somehow defined outside the boundaries of humanity, under the exception laws of Schutzhaft. Where law is based on vague, unspecific concepts such as "race" or "good morals," law and the personal subjectivity of the judicial agent are no longer distinct.

“In United States criminal law, people accused of committing crimes cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves verbally, but can be compelled to incriminate themselves physically.”[16] In the process of creating a state of exception these effects can compound. In a realized state of exception, one who has been accused of committing a crime, within the legal system, loses the ability to use his voice and represent themselves. The individual can not only be deprived of their citizenship, but also of any form of agency over their own life. “Agamben identifies the state of exception with the power of decision over life.”[17] Within the state of exception, the distinction between bios (citizen) and zoe (homo sacer) is made by those with judicial power. For example, Agamben would argue that Guantánamo Bay exemplifies the concept of 'the state of exception' in the United States following 9–11.

Agamben mentions that basic universal human rights of Taliban individuals while captured in Afghanistan and sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2001 were negated by US laws. In reaction to the removal of their basic human rights, detainees of Guantánamo Bay prison went on hunger strikes. Within a state of exception, when a detainee is placed outside of the law, he is according to Agamben, reduced to 'bare life' in the eyes of the judicial powers.[citation needed] Here, one can see why such measures as hunger strikes can occur in such places as prisons. Within the framework of a system that has deprived the individual of power, and their individual basic human freedoms, the hunger strike can be seen as a weapon or form of resistance. “The body is a model which can stand for any bounded system. Its boundaries can represent any boundaries which are threatened or precarious.”[18] Within a state of exception the boundaries of power are precarious and threaten to destabilize not only the law, but one’s humanity, as well as their choice of life or death. Forms of resistance to the extended use of power within the state of exception as suggested in Guantánamo Bay prison also operate outside of the law. In the case of the hunger strike, the prisoners were threatened and endured force feeding not allowing them to die. During the hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay prison, accusations and founded claims of forced feedings began to surface in the autumn of 2005. In February 2006, The New York Times reported that prisoners were being force fed in Guantánamo Bay prison and in March 2006, more than 250 medical experts, as reported by the BBC,[19] voiced their opinions of the forced feedings stating that this was a breach of the government’s power and was against the rights of the prisoners.

The Coming Community (1993)[edit]

In The Coming Community, published in Italian in 1990 and translated into English by longtime admirer Michael Hardt in 1993, Agamben describes the social and political manifestation of his philosophical thought. Employing diverse short essays he describes the nature of “whatever singularity” as that which has an “inessential commonality, a solidarity that in no way concerns an essence”. It is important to note his understanding of “whatever” not as being indifference but based on the Latin translation of “being such that it always matters”.

Agamben starts off by describing “The Lovable”

Love is never directed toward this or that property of the loved one (being blond, being small, being tender, being lame), but neither does it neglect the properties in favor of an insipid generality (universal love): The lover wants the loved one with all of its predicates, its being such as it is.

[20]

In the same sense, Agamben talks about "ease" as the "place" of love, or "rather love as the experience of taking-place in a whatever singularity", which resonates his use of the concept "use" in the later works.

In this sense, ease names perfectly that "free use of the proper" that, according to an expression of Friedrich Hölderlin's, is "the most difficult task."

[21]

Following the same trend, he employs, among others, the following to describe the “watershed of whatever”:

  • Example – particular and universal
  • Limbo – blessed and damned
  • Homonym – concept and idea
  • Halo – potentiality and actuality
  • Face – common and proper, genus and individual
  • Threshold – inside and outside
  • Coming community – state and non-state (humanity)[22]

Other themes addressed in The Coming Community include the commodification of the body, evil, and the messianic.

Unlike other continental philosophers he does not reject the age-old dichotomies of subject/object and potentiality/actuality outright, but rather turns them inside-out, pointing out the zone where they become indistinguishable.

Matter that does not remain beneath form, but surrounds it with a halo

[22]

The political task of humanity, he argues, is to expose the innate potential in this zone of indistinguishability. And although criticised as dreaming the impossible by certain authors,[23] he nonetheless shows a concrete example of whatever singularity acting politically:

Whatever singularity, which wants to appropriate belonging itself, its own being-in-language, and thus rejects all identity and every condition of belonging, is the principal enemy of the State. Wherever these singularities peacefully demonstrate their being in common there will be Tiananmen, and, sooner or later, the tanks will appear

[24]

Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1995)[edit]

Main article: Homo sacer

In his main work "Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life" (1998), Giorgio Agamben analyzes an obscure[25] figure of Roman law that poses some fundamental questions to the nature of law and power in general. Under the Roman Empire, a man who committed a certain kind of crime was banned from society and all of his rights as a citizen were revoked. He thus became a "homo sacer" (sacred man). In consequence, he could be killed by anybody, while his life on the other hand was deemed "sacred", so he could not be sacrificed in a ritual ceremony.

Roman law no longer applied to someone deemed a Homo sacer, although they would remain "under the spell" of law. Agamben defines it as "human life...included in the juridical order solely in the form of its exclusion (that is, of its capacity to be killed)". Homo sacer was therefore excluded from law itself, while being included at the same time. This figure is the exact mirror image of the sovereign (basileus) — a king, emperor, or president — who stands, on the one hand, within law (so he can be condemned, e.g., for treason, as a natural person) and outside of the law (since as a body politic he has power to suspend law for an indefinite time).

Giorgio Agamben draws on Carl Schmitt's definition of the Sovereign as the one who has the power to decide the state of exception (or justitium), where law is indefinitely "suspended" without being abrogated. But if Schmitt's aim is to include the necessity of state of emergency under the rule of law, Agamben on the contrary demonstrates that all life cannot be subsumed by law. As in Homo sacer, the state of emergency is the inclusion of life and necessity in the juridical order solely in the form of its exclusion.[clarification needed]

Since its origins, Agamben notes, law has had the power of defining what "bare life" — zoe (Gk. ζωή), as opposed to bios (Gk. βίος): qualified life — is by making this exclusive operation, while at the same time gaining power over it by making it the subject of political control. The power of law to actively separate "political" beings (citizens) from "bare life" (bodies) has carried on from Antiquity to Modernity — from, literally, Aristotle to Auschwitz. Aristotle, as Agamben notes, constitutes political life via a simultaneous inclusion and exclusion of "bare life": as Aristotle says, man is an animal born to life (Gk. ζῆν, zen), but existing with regard to the good life (εὖ ζῆν, eu zen) which can be achieved through politics.[26] Bare life, in this ancient conception of politics, is that which must be transformed, via the State, into the "good life"; that is, bare life is that which is supposedly excluded from the higher aims of the state, yet is included precisely so that it may be transformed into this "good life". Sovereignty, then, is conceived from ancient times as the power which determines what or who is to be incorporated into the political body (in accord with its bios) by means of the more originary exclusion (or exception) of what is to remain outside of the political body—which is at the same time the source of that body's composition (zoe).[27] According to Agamben, biopower, which takes the bare lives of the citizens into its political calculations, may be more marked in the modern state, but has essentially existed since the beginnings of sovereignty in the West, since this structure of ex-ception is essential to the core concept of sovereignty.[28]

Agamben would continue to expand the theory of the state of exception first introduced in "Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life", ultimately leading "State of Exception" in 2005. During 2003, he delivered a lecture at European Graduate School describing the eclipse that politics has undergone.[29] Instead of leaving a space between law and life, the space where human action is possible, the space that used to constitute politics, he argues that politics has “contaminated itself with law” in the state of exception. Because “only human action is able to cut the relationship between violence and law”, it becomes increasingly difficult within the state of exception for humanity to act against the State.[29]

State of Exception (2005)[edit]

In this book, Giorgio Agamben traces the concept of 'state of exception' (Ausnahmezustand) used by Carl Schmitt to Roman justitium and auctoritas. This leads him to a response to Carl Schmitt's definition of sovereignty as the power to proclaim the exception.

Agamben’s text State of Exception investigates the increase of power structures governments employ in supposed times of crisis. Within these times of crisis, Agamben refers to increased extension of power as states of exception, where questions of citizenship and individual rights can be diminished, superseded and rejected in the process of claiming this extension of power by a government.

The state of exception invests one person or government with the power and voice of authority over others extended well beyond where the law has existed in the past. “In every case, the state of exception marks a threshold at which logic and praxis blur with each other and a pure violence without logos claims to realize an enunciation without any real reference" (Agamben, pg 40). Agamben refers a continued state of exception to the Nazi state of Germany under Hitler’s rule. “The entire Third Reich can be considered a state of exception that lasted twelve years. In this sense, modern totalitarianism can be defined as the establishment, by means of the state of exception, of a legal civil war that allows for the physical elimination not only of political adversaries but of entire categories of citizens who for some reason cannot be integrated into the political system" (Agamben, pg 2).

The political power over others acquired through the state of exception, places one government — or one form or branch of government — as all powerful, operating outside of the laws. During such times of extension of power, certain forms of knowledge shall be privileged and accepted as true and certain voices shall be heard as valued, while of course, many others are not. This oppressive distinction holds great importance in relation to the production of knowledge. The process of both acquiring knowledge, and suppressing certain knowledge, is a violent act within a time of crisis.

Agamben’s State of Exception investigates how the suspension of laws within a state of emergency or crisis can become a prolonged state of being. More specifically, Agamben addresses how this prolonged state of exception operates to deprive individuals of their citizenship. When speaking about the military order issued by President George W. Bush on 13 November 2001, Agamben writes, “What is new about President Bush’s order is that it radically erases any legal status of the individual, thus producing a legally unnameable and unclassifiable being. Not only do the Taliban captured in Afghanistan not enjoy the status of POW’s as defined by the Geneva Convention, they do not even have the status of people charged with a crime according to American laws" (Agamben, pg 3). Many of the individuals captured in Afghanistan were taken to be held at Guantánamo Bay without trial. These individuals were termed as “enemy combatants.” Until 7 July 2006, these individuals had been treated outside of the Geneva Conventions by the United States administration.

Auctoritas, "charisma" and Führertum doctrine[edit]

Agamben shows that auctoritas and potestas are clearly distinct — although they form together a binary system".[30] He quotes Mommsen, who explains that auctoritas is "less than an order and more than an advice".[31]

While potestas derives from social function, auctoritas "immediately derives from the patres personal condition". As such, it is akin to Max Weber's concept of charisma. This is why the tradition ordered, at the king's death, the creation of the sovereign’s wax-double in the funus imaginarium, as Ernst Kantorowicz demonstrated in The King's Two Bodies (1957). Hence, it is necessary to distinguish two bodies of the sovereign in order to assure the continuity of dignitas (term used by Kantorowicz, here a synonym of auctoritas). Moreover, in the person detaining auctoritas — the sovereign — public life and private life have become inseparable. Augustus, the first Roman emperor who claimed auctoritas as the basis of princeps status in a famous passage of Res Gestae, had opened up his house to public eyes.

The concept of auctoritas played a key-role in fascism and Nazism, in particular concerning Carl Schmitt's theories, argues Agamben:

To understand modern phenomena such as the fascist Duce or the Nazi Führer, it is important not to forget their continuity with the principle of auctoritas principis {Agamben refers here to Augustus's Res Gestae}. {...} Neither does the Duce nor the Führer represent constitutionally defined public charges – even though Mussolini and Hitler endorsed respectively the charge of head of government and Reich's chancellor, just as Augustus endorsed the imperium consulare or the potestas tribunicia. The Duce’s or the Führer’s qualities are immediately related to the physical person and belong to the biopolitical tradition of auctoritas and not to the juridical tradition of potestas

[32]

Thus, Agamben opposes Foucault's concept of "biopolitics" to right (law), as he defines the state of exception, in Homo sacer, as the inclusion of life by right under the figure of ex-ception, which is simultaneously inclusion and exclusion. Following Walter Benjamin's lead, he explains that our task would be to radically differentiate "pure violence" from right, instead of tying them together, as did Carl Schmitt.

Agamben concludes his chapter on "Auctoritas and potestas" writing:

It is significative that modern specialists were so inclined to admit that auctoritas was inherent to the living person of the pater or the princeps. What was evidently an ideology or a fictio aiming to be the groundwork of auctoritas ' preeminence or, at least, specific rank compared to potestas thus became a figure of right's {law – "droit"} immanence to life. (...) Although it is evident that there can't be an eternal human type that would incarnate itself each time in Augustus, Napoleon, Hitler, but only more or less comparable ("semblables") mechanisms {"dispositif", a term often used by Foucault} – the state of exception, justitium, the auctoritas principis, the Führertum -, put in use in more or less different circumstances, in the 1930s – overall, but not only – in Germany, the power that Weber had defined as "charismatic" is related to the concept of auctoritas and elaborated in a Führertum doctrine as the original and personal power of a leader. In 1933, in a short article intending to define the fundamental concepts of national-socialism, Schmitt defines the Führung principle by the "root identity between the leader and his entourage" {"identité de souche entre le chef et son entourage"} (we shall note the use of weberian concepts).

[33]

Agamben’s thoughts on the state of emergency leads him to declare that the difference between dictatorship and democracy is thin indeed, as rule by decree became more and more common, starting from World War I and the reorganization of constitutional balance. Agamben often reminds that Hitler never abrogated the Weimar Constitution: he suspended it for the whole duration of the 3rd Reich with the Reichstag Fire Decree, issued on 28 February 1933. Indefinite suspension of law is what characterizes the state of exception. Thus, Agamben connects Greek political philosophy through to the concentration camps of 20th century fascism, and even further, to detainment camps in the likes of Guantánamo Bay or immigration detention centers, such as Bari, Italy, where asylum seekers have been imprisoned in football stadiums. In these kinds of camps, entire zones of exception are being formed: the state of exception becomes a status under which certain categories of people live, a capture of life by right. Sovereign law makes it possible to create entire areas in which the application of the law itself is held suspended, which is the basis of Bush administration's definition of an "enemy combatant".

Interregnum, justitium and nomos empsuchos (the sovereign as "living law")[edit]

In the chapter preceding "Auctoritas and potestas", Agamben advances an explanation of the transformation of justitium, a technical term referring to the state of exception, declared to cope with tumultus state (rebellion, uprising, riots...), at the end of the Roman Republic, into a term simply referring to the mourning of the sovereign's death during interregnum periods:

The correspondence between justitium and mourning here shows its true signification. If the sovereign is a living nomos, if then anomie and nomos coincide in his person without any left-over, then anarchy (which, at his death, when the link attaching him to law his broken, threatens to unleash itself in the city) must be ritualized and controlled, by the transformation of the state of exception into public mourning and of mourning into justitium (...) Before acquiring the modern form of a decision on emergency {Schmitt's definition}, the relationship between sovereignty and state of exception presents itself under the form of an identity between the sovereign and anomie. As living law, the sovereign is deeply anomos (ἄνομος). Here also the state of exception is the life – more secret and true – of the law.

[34]

The first formulation of the thesis according to which "the sovereign is a living law" found its first formulation on the treatise "On law and justice" by pseudo-Archytas, conserved by Stobaeus.[35] It is the first attempt to conceive a form of sovereignty completely enfranchised from laws, being itself the source of legitimacy.[citation needed] This theory must be radically distinguished from natural rights theory or Antigone's appeal to the "eternal and unwritten laws" by which even monarchs must abide, as it is a theory of sovereignty (in fact, it is quite the reverse of Antigone's rebellion).

Pseudo-Archytas distinguished the sovereign (basileus), who is the law, from the magistrate (archōn), who limits himself to observing the law. "Identification between law and sovereign has as consequence, writes Agamben, the scission of law into a "living" law (νόμος εὔψυχος, nomos empsuchos), hierarchically superior, and a written law (γράμμα, gramma), which is subordinate to the first one". He then quotes A. Delatte's Essais sur la politique pythagoricienne (Paris, 1922), himself quoting the pseudo-Archytas:

"I say that all communities are composed of an archōn (the magistrate who commands), a commanded one, and, as tierce party, laws. Among those ones, the living one is the sovereign (ho men empsuchos ho basileus), and the inanimate one is the letter (gramma). Law is the first element, the king is legal, the magistrate accorded to law, the commanded free and all of the city happy; but, in case of corruption (dévoiement), the sovereign is a tyrant, the magistrate is not accorded to law and the community is unhappy."[citation needed]

Criticism of US response to 9–11[edit]

Giorgio Agamben is particularly critical of the United States' response to 11 September 2001, and its instrumentalization as a permanent condition that legitimizes a "state of exception" as the dominant paradigm for governing in contemporary politics. He warns against a "generalization of the state of exception" through laws like the USA PATRIOT Act, which means a permanent installment of martial law and emergency powers. In January 2004, he refused to give a lecture in the United States because under the US-VISIT he would have been required to give up his biometric information, which he believed stripped him to a state of "bare life" (zoe) and was akin to the tattooing that the Nazis did during World War II.[36][37]

However, Agamben's criticisms target a broader scope than the US "war on terror". As he points out in State of Exception (2005), rule by decree has become common since World War I in all modern states, and has been since then generalized and abused. Agamben points out a general tendency of modernity, recalling for example that when Francis Galton and Alphonse Bertillon invented "judicial photography" for "anthropometric identification", the procedure was reserved to criminals; to the contrary, today's society is tending toward a generalization of this procedure to all citizens, placing the population under permanent suspicion and surveillance: "The political body thus has become a criminal body". And Agamben notes that the Jews deportation in France and other occupied countries was made possible by the photos taken from identity cards.[38] Furthermore, Agamben's political criticisms open up in a larger philosophical critique of the concept of sovereignty itself, which he argues is intrinsically related to the state of exception.

Bibliography[edit]

Agamben's major books are listed in order of first Italian publication (with the exception of Potentialities, which first appeared in English), and English translations are listed where available. There are translations of most writings in German, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. There is also an updated list of publications including translations to other languages and links to texts available at his faculty page. A cronological and complete bibliography (December 2013) is available here.

  • L'uomo senza contenuto (1970). Translated by Georgia Albert as The Man without Content (1999). 0-8047-3554-9
  • Stanze. La parola e il fantasma nella cultura occidentale (1977). Trans. Ronald L. Martinez as Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture (1992). 0-8166-2038-5
  • Infanzia e storia: Distruzione dell'esperienza e origine della storia (1978). Trans. Liz Heron as Infancy and History: The Destruction of Experience (1993). 0-86091-645-6
  • Il linguaggio e la morte: Un seminario sul luogo della negatività (1982). Trans. Karen E. Pinkus with Michael Hardt as Language and Death: The Place of Negativity (1991). ISBN 0-8166-4923-5
  • Idea della prosa (1985). Trans. Michael Sullivan and Sam Whitsitt as Idea of Prose (1995). ISBN 0-7914-2380-8
  • La comunità che viene (1990). Trans. Michael Hardt as The Coming Community (1993). ISBN 0-8166-2235-3
  • Bartleby, la formula della creazione (1993, with Gilles Deleuze). Agamben's essay trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen in Potentialities, below (1999). ISBN 0-8047-3278-7. Deleuze's essay trans. in Deleuze, Essays Clinical and Critical (1997). ISBN 0-8166-2569-7
  • Homo Sacer: Il potere soverano e la vita nuda (1995). Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen as Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1998). ISBN 0-8047-3218-3
  • Mezzi senza fine. Note sulla politica (1996). Trans. Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino as Means Without End: Notes of Politics (2000). ISBN 0-8166-3036-4
  • Categorie italiane. Studi di poetica (1996). Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen as The End of the Poem: Studies in Poetics (1999). ISBN 0-8047-3022-9
  • Quel che resta di Auschwitz. L'archivio e il testimone (Homo sacer III) (1998). Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen as Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. Homo Sacer III (2002). ISBN 1-890951-17-X
  • Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy. (1999). First published in English translation and edited by Daniel Heller-Roazen. ISBN 0-8047-3278-7. Published in the original Italian, with additional essays, as La potenza del pensiero: Saggi e conferenza (2005).
  • Il tempo che resta. Un commento alla Lettera ai Romani (2000). Trans. Patricia Dailey as The Time that Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans (2005). ISBN 0-8047-4383-5
  • L'aperto. L'uomo e l'animale (2002). Trans. Kevin Attell as The Open: Man and Animal (2004). ISBN 0-8047-4738-5
  • Stato di Eccezione. Homo sacer, 2,1 (2003). Trans. Kevin Attell as State of Exception (2005). ISBN 0-226-00925-4
  • Profanazioni (2005). Trans. Jeff Fort as Profanations (2008). ISBN 1-890951-82-X
  • Che cos'è un dispositivo? (2006). Trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella in What is an Apparatus? and Other Essays (2009). ISBN 0-8047-6230-9
  • L'amico (2007). Trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella in What is an Apparatus? and Other Essays (2009). ISBN 0-8047-6230-9
  • Ninfe (2007). Trans. Amanda Minervini as "Nymphs" in Releasing the Image: From Literature to New Media, ed. Jacques Khalip and Robert Mitchell (2011). ISBN 978-0-8047-6137-6
  • Il regno e la gloria. Per una genealogia teologica dell'economia e del governo. Homo sacer 2,2 (2007). Trans. Lorenzo Chiesa with Matteo Mandarini as The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government (2011). ISBN 978-0-8047-6016-4
  • Che cos'è il contemporaneo? (2007). Trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella in What is an Apparatus? and Other Essays (2009). ISBN 0-8047-6230-9
  • Signatura rerum. Sul Metodo (2008). Trans. Luca di Santo and Kevin Attell as The Signature of All Things: On Method (2009). ISBN 978-1-890951-98-6
  • Il sacramento del linguaggio. Archeologia del giuramento. Homo sacer 2,3 (2008). Trans. Adam Kotsko as The Sacrament of Language: An Archaeology of the Oath (2011).
  • Nudità (2009). Trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella as Nudities (2010). ISBN 978-0-8047-6950-1
  • Angeli. Ebraismo Cristianesimo Islam (ed. Emanuele Coccia and Giorgio Agamben). Neripozza, Vicenza 2009.
  • La Chiesa e il Regno (2010). ISBN 978-88-7452-226-2. Trans. Leland de la Durantaye as The Church and the Kingdom (2012). ISBN 978-0-85742-024-4
  • La ragazza indicibile. Mito e mistero di Kore (2010, with Monica Ferrando.) ISBN 978-88-370-7717-4. Trans. Leland de la Durantaye and Annie Julia Wyman as The Unspeakable Girl: The Myth and Mystery of Kore (2014). ISBN 978-08-574-2083-1
  • Altissima povertà. Regola e forma di vita nel monachesimo (2011). ISBN 978-88-545-0545-2. Trans. Adam Kotsko as The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life (2013). ISBN 978-08-047-8405-4
  • Opus Dei. Archeologia dell'ufficio (2012). ISBN 978-88-339-2247-8 (draft translation of preface).
  • Pilato e Gesú (2013). ISBN 978-88-745-2409-9
  • Il mistero del male: Benedetto XVI e la fine dei tempi (2013). ISBN 978-88-581-0831-4
  • "Qu'est-ce que le commandement?" (2013) ISBN 978-27-436-2435-4 (French translation only, no original version published.)
  • Il fuoco e il racconto (2014). ISBN 978-88-745-2500-3
Articles and essays

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Homo Sacer, Stanford UP, 1998, p. 8.
  2. ^ The paradox "consists in the fact the sovereign is, at the same time, outside and inside the juridical order." (Agamben, Homo Sacer, Stanford UP, 1998, p. 15)
  3. ^ Generally speaking, "state of exception" includes German Notstand, English state of emergency and others martial law. Agamben prefers using this term as it underlines the structure of ex-ception, which is simultaneously of inclusion and exclusion. "Ex-ception" can be opposed to the concept of "example" as developed by Immanuel Kant.
  4. ^ See Martin Heidegger, Four Seminars (Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2003).
  5. ^ Leland de la Durantaye, Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2009), p. 53.
  6. ^ See de la Durantaye, pp. 148-49.
  7. ^ The Signature of All Things: On Method (New York: Zone, 2009), p. 7.
  8. ^ Nancy's essay responded to a proposal by Jean-Christophe Bailly, who put the word and concept of community, then relatively neglected in French philosophical discourse, up for discussion. Bailley's contribution was "The community, the number," a topic for an issue of the French magazine Aléa, which was edited at that time by Christian Bourgois. Cf. Jean-Luc Nancy, La communauté désoeuvrée (Paris: Christian Bourgois, 1983). In English transl., The Inoperative Community (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991).
  9. ^ See: Giorgio Agamben Faculty profile at European Graduate School
  10. ^ Fondation Charles Veillon Prix Européen de l’Essai. 2006
  11. ^ Leland de la Durantaye, Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction (2009), p. 247
  12. ^ Opus Dei – Stanford University Press
  13. ^ The Highest Poverty – Stanford University Press
  14. ^ Ulrich Rauff, "An Interview with Giorgio Agamben," German Law Journal 5.5 (2004): 613. PDF available at Germanlawjournal.com
  15. ^ The Coming Community (1993), section 11.
  16. ^ Agamben, Giorgio (1985). The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. Oxford UP. p. 111. ISBN 0195049969. 
  17. ^ Jacques Ranciere. Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man? South Atlantic Quarterly, 2004, 103(2–3):297–310.
  18. ^ Mary Douglas. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (1966) London: Ark Paperbacks, 1984, p. 116
  19. ^ "Doctors attack US over Guantanamo"
  20. ^ The Coming Community (1993), page 2.
  21. ^ The Coming Community (1993), page 25.
  22. ^ a b The Coming Community (1993)[page needed]
  23. ^ Tony Simoes da Silva. Strip It Bare – Agamben’s Message For A More Hopeful World. Book Review. 2005
  24. ^ The Coming Community (1993), page 86.
  25. ^ Homo Sacer, p. 8
  26. ^ Homo Sacer, Stanford UP, 1998, p. 66.
  27. ^ "Sovereign violence is in truth founded not on a pact but on the exclusive inclusion of bare life in the state." (Homo Sacer, Stanford UP, 1998, p. 107)
  28. ^ Of course, this understanding of "biopower" is distinct from Foucault's use of the term.
  29. ^ a b Agamben, Giorgio. The State of Exception – Der Ausnahmezustand. European Graduate School. Video lecture. 2003.
  30. ^ State of Exception (2005)[page needed]
  31. ^ Theodor Mommsen, Römisches Staatsrecht ("Roman Constitutional Law", volume III) (Graz, 1969)
  32. ^ State of Exception, chapter 6: "Auctoritas and potestas", §7.
  33. ^ State of Exception, chapter 6, §8.
  34. ^ State of Exception, chapter 5, §3.
  35. ^ Fragments of On Law and Justice attributed to Archytas of Tarentum by Phillip Horky
  36. ^ (French) Giorgio Agamben. "Non au tatouage biopolitique "No to Bio-Political Tattooing"". Le Monde Diplomatique. 10 January 2004. 
  37. ^ "No to Bio-Political Tattooing" by Giorgio Agamben, Le Monde Diplomatique, 10 January 2004
  38. ^ (French) Giorgio Agamben. "Non à la biométrie ("No to Biometrics")". Le Monde. 5 December 2005.  (also available here)

Further reading[edit]

  • Calarco, Matthew and Steven DeCaroli, eds. Giorgio Agamben: Sovereignty and Life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.
  • Clemens, Justin, Nicholas Heron, and Alex Murray, eds. The Work of Giorgio Agamben: Law, Literature, Life. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.
  • D'Alonzo Jacopo,"El origen de la nuda vida: política y lenguaye en el pensamiento de Giorgio Agamben", Revista Pléyade (12), 2013, pp. 93–112. http://www.caip.cl/wp-content/uploads/04.-DAlonzo.pdf
  • de la Durantaye, Leland. Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009.
  • Dell'Aia, Lucia (ed.), Studi su Agamben, Milano: Ledizioni, 2012 (with essays by B. Witte, V. Liska, L. Dell'Aia, R. Talamo, E. Miranda, F. Recchia Luciani).
  • Derrida, Jacques. The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume 1. Ed. Michel Lisse, Marie-Louise Mallet, and Ginette Michaud. Trans. Geoff Bennington. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. 91–96, 315–334.
  • Dickinson, Colby. Agamben and Theology. London and New York: T&T Clark International, 2011.
  • Doussan, Jenny. "Time, Language, and Visuality in Agamben's Philosophy." Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Downey, Anthony. “Zones of Indistinction: Giorgio Agamben’s Bare Life and the Politics of Aesthetics,” Third Text, issue 97, 2009.
  • Downey, Anthony. "Exemplary Subjects: Camps and the Politics of Representation", in "Giorgio Agamben: Legal, Political and Philosophical Perspectives" London: Routledge, 2014. 119-142.
  • Fabbri, Lorenzo. "From Inoperativeness to Action: On Giorgio Agamben’s Anarchism", "Radical Philosophy Review," Volume 4, Number 1, 2011.
  • Fabbri, Lorenzo. "Chronotopologies of the Exception. Agamben and Derrida before the Camps", "Diacritics," Volume 39, Number 3 (2009): 77–95.
  • Galindo Hervás, Alfonso. Política y mesianismo. Giorgio Agamben. Biblioteca Nueva, Madrid, 2005.
  • Geulen, Eva. Giorgio Agamben zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius Verlag, 2005.
  • Kishik, David. The Power of Life: Agamben and the Coming Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011.
  • LaCapra, Dominick. "Approaching Limit Events: Siting Agamben". In History in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004. 144–194.
  • Mills, Catherine. The Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.
  • Murray, Alex. Giorgio Agamben. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.
  • Murray, Alex and Jessica Whyte. The Agamben Dictionary. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
  • Neal, Andrew W., Exceptionalism and the Politics of Counter-Terrorism: Liberty, Security and the War on Terror. Abingdon: Routledge, 2010.
  • Norris, Andrew, ed. Politics, Metaphysics, and Death: Essays on Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.
  • Ross, Alison, ed. The Agamben Effect. A special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 107, Number 1, Winter 2008.
  • Salzani, Carlo, Introduzione a Giorgio Agamben, Il Nuovo Melangolo, 2013.
  • Snoek, Anke. Agamben's Joyful Kafka: Finding Freedom Beyond Subordination. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012.
  • Tagma, Halit Mustafa. "Homo Sacer vs. homo soccer mom: Reading Agamben and Foucault in the war on terror", Alternatives: Local, Global, Political. Volume: 34, No: 4, pp: 407–435, 2009.
  • Tasis, Theofanis. "Politics of the Senses: On vision and hearing in Hannah Arendt's "Vita activa", in: Axel Michaels, Christoph Wulf (eds.), Exploring the Senses – South Asian and European Perspectives on Rituals and Performativity (Chapter 20), Routledge India, 2012.
  • Wall, Thomas Carl. Radical Passivity: Lévinas, Blanchot, and Agamben. New York: State University of New York Press, 1999.
  • Watkin, William. Literary Agamben: Adventures in Logopoiesis. London and New York: Continuum, 2010.
  • Zartaloudis, Thanos. Giorgio Agamben: Power, Law and the Uses of Criticism. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.

External links[edit]

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Video lectures[edit]

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