HOMO SACER EL PODER SOBERANO Y LA NUDA VIDA [Giorgio Agamben] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Protagonista de este libro es la nuda vida, es decir la vida “a quien cualquiera puede dar HOMO SACER: El poder soberano y la nuda vida: Giorgio Agamben. Agamben Giorgio Homo Sacer La Nuda Vida Y El Poder Soberano.
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A Critical Reading of Giorgio Agamben”. Ideas y Valores Potentiality, Sovereignty and Bare Life. A Critical Reading of Giorgio Agamben. Ideas y Valores63 This article presents a critical account of Agamben’s understanding of the logic of sovereignty and of the notion bare life, particularly Agamben’s approach to the paradox ahamben sovereignty and its relation to Aristotle’s metaphysical category of potentiality.
With regards to bare life, it brings together an analysis of the figure of the homo sacer with an account of Agamben’s use of paradigms as methodological tools. The first part of the paper argues that Agamben ontologises sovereignty by dramatising the paradox of agzmben structure as im-potentiality.
The second part claims that even though an account of Agamben’s methodology serves to respond to the different critiques that his notion of bare life has raised, Agamben’s notions of sovereignty and of bare life ultimately rely on Schmitt’s decisionism.
Na primeira parte deste artigo, argumenta-se que Agamben ontologiza a soberaniadramatizando o paradoxo de sua estrutura como im-potencialidade. Agamben opens a provocative line of research that provides insightful links connecting the politisation of death and the biopolitical activity of the sovereign power by focusing on the correlation between modernity and sovereignty. However, it will be argued that in the cause of taking to the extreme this correlation through an excessive dramatisation of the paradox of sovereignty, Agamben entrenches himself in an ontological position that, while achieving its intention of criticising sovereignty as a whole, ends up in naturalising it as an omnipresent figure that produces the camp as an inescapable zone of indistinction.
The first section of this article presents an account of Agamben’s theory of the state of the exception and the structure of sovereigntyin order to subsequently call into question Agamben’s invocation of Aristotle’s metaphysics in his analysis of constituting and constituted power.
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Here, my central argument is that, in Agamben, the de-centering of sovereignty is only achieved through its ontologisation as im-potentiality, 2 that is to say, Agamben takes one step away from Schmitt and only one at the expense of constructing sovereignty as an omnipresent figure. Instead, I suggest that the retreat of sovereignty corresponds to the dislocation of the state of exception and of the law as the privileged categories that inform the political production of bare life.
Section two is devoted to Agamben’s notion of bare life and his treatment unda the figure of the homo sacer as a paradigm that attempts to make intelligible a broader historical-problematic context cf. After an analysis of the notion of bare life in terms of Agamben’s reading of Benjamin and of the figure of agajben homo sacerI present a recapitulation of Agamben’s use of paradigms as methodological instruments.
With this in mind, I consider two critical remarks that the figure of nnuda homo sacer has raised. To conclude this part, I agambrn that an account of Agamben’s methodology provides a ground to respond these critiques. However, given Agamben’s insistence on Schmitt’s decisionismI suggest, as a conclusion of this enquiry, that a double movement is necessary: And secondly, to reconstruct the notion of bare life by deactivating the residues of Schmitt’s decisionism within Viva framework.
Antonio Negri traces the concept of sovereignty through that of a crisis, discussing the necessity to “escape the fetish of sovereignty as the concept of government in modernity” After locating different perspectives within postmodern thought that sustain this crisis from the biopolitical transformation of the concept of sovereignty to its modification in the light of international lawNegri poses a cardinal question for this enquiry:. If, in the current post-modern climate, the principle of sovereignty is dissolving, could it however be rebuilt —stripped of every spurious characteristic— abstracted into an unambiguous definition of “exceptionality”?
This is what some legal-philosophical positions rather ambiguously —and very abstractly— propose, sometimes claiming that the strength of the exception restores the entire process of the production of law under the auspices of sovereignty, at others recognising in the emergence of the exception a new figure of sovereign command But it is a process so abstract and teleological or —as Kant put it— terroristic, that is, armed with a radical ethical pessimism, based on a metaphysics of transcendence as to become instrumental in nuad many theoretical positions and indifferent nura too many ideological standpoints.
When a key opens too many doors it can only agambben a lock-pick. Giorgio Agamben’s critique of sovereignty represents precisely a threshold bida the totalisation of sovereignty through a re-composition of its abandonment in the category of the exception.
Indeed, following Schmitt, Agamben claims that sovereign power is undoubtedly situated within and above the law cf. Rousseau, Derrida, Deleuze, Kafka— by affirming that there is a fundamental paradox at the core of sovereignty cf. Connolly 24which con-sist in the fact that the sovereign is outside and inside the juridical order cf.
Unlike Rousseau, who, in On the Social Contract, comprehended the paradox of sovereignty 3 to thenceforth viva its terms and agambsn it through the figure of the wise legislator 4 and the appeal for a unified nation, Agamben’s reading of sovereignty discloses deeper paradoxes that could only viida resolved by rejecting or transcending its logic altogether, a task that becomes unachievable once the paradox of sovereignty is taken to a point at ndua it is no longer possible to tell apart modernity and sovereignty.
For Agamben, and certainly for Schmitt, this paradox lies in the fact that the sovereign, having the legal power to decide if the nudda order is to be suspended, legally places himself outside the law.
Consequently, the limits of the juridical order are subjected to the structure of this paradox, whose topology corresponds to the structure of the exception cf. The exception appears in its absolute form when it is a question of creating a situation in which juridical rules can be valid There is no rule applicable to chaos Thus, the exception —which for Agamben becomes more important than the regular situation—, is explained by the fact that a final authority is required to suspend the validity of the positive law, to define “the normal case as the realm of its own validity” This final authority is insufficiently informed by any law that precedes it: The character of the exception is defined by Agamben as an exclusion, which preserves a relation with the general rule as a form of the rule’s suspension.
In this sense, the rule applies in no longer applying and, therefore, the state of exception, far from being the chaotic situation that precedes the order, is the scenario that results from its suspension cf. It is in this light that we must read Carl Schmitt’s statement that “sovereignty presents itself in the form of a decision on the exception” qtd. agxmben
The complexity of the inclusion described by Agamben exceeds not only Deleuze’s and Guattari’s affirmation of the capacity of sovereignty to rule only over what it is capable of interiorizing cf. Indeed, Agamben goes further to suggest that the exception that defines the structure of sovereignty is even more complex: In this particular sense, the situation created in the exception cannot be defined either as a situation of fact or as a situation of right, but rather as a situation of threshold of indistinction between the two.
This zone of indistinction is produced according to Agamben by the inclusion of chaos in the juridical order, since in order to refer to something, a rule must both presuppose and yet still establish a relation with what is outside relation. It is in this way that Agamben digs into the paradox of sovereignty to reveal its originary structure, anticipating one of his major and problematic conclusions: At this point, the eschatological character of Agamben’s notion of sovereignty is revealed, completely capturing life in the tight logic of the paradox.
A theoretical invocation by Agamben reinforces and fills this eschatological position: Agamben’s turn to Aristotle’s metaphysical concepts of potentiality and actuality 5 in his treatment of the form of law and the dialectic of constituting and constituted power.
Homo sacer : el poder soberano y la nuda vida I – Ghent University Library
In her analysis of the French Revolution, Hannah Arendt, to whom Agamben devotes just a few lines in his treatment of constituting power cf. By not having fulfilled this task, the revolutionary tradition has failed to recognise the interconnection of constituting power with constituted power.
Unlike Agamben, who agrees with Arendt on the importance of this differentiation cf. In this sense, constituent power for Negri “takes the form of a permanent revolution, a process in which the subject’s independence is affirmed at the moment when it continually rolls back the enemy’s oppression and simultaneously expresses, accumulates, and organises its own power” Therefore, what agajben at stake for Negri is a political question concerning democracy, since his analysis of constituent power focuses on its mobilisation in particular events where its democratic will is nnuda.
When conceived in all its radicality, constituting vkda “ceases to be a strictly political concept and necessarily presents itself as category of ontology” Agamben However, Negri never leaves aside the political dimension of the conflict between constituting and constituted power. Agamben, who discusses Negri’s framework briefly c f. Ultimately, however, Agamben turns away from Negri’s and even Arendt’s frameworks, adopting instead the Aristotelian distinction between potentiality and actuality.
The only justification Agamben provides for this invocation of Aristotle’s metaphysics is that the relation Aristotle establishes between nyda and act is as complicated as the relation between constituted and constituting power and, in the last analysis, “the relation between constituting and constituted power perhaps like every authentic understanding of the problem of sovereignty depends on how one thinks the existence and autonomy of potentiality” The Aristotelian concept of potentiality is appealing for Agamben not because it precedes actuality while remaining subordinated to it, but rather because potentiality in Aristotle is also potentiality not to do or be, and, in this sense, potentiality “maintains itself in relation to actuality in the agzmben of its suspension” This is why, for Agamben, in describing the nature of potentiality as im-potentiality Aristotle anticipates the paradigm of sovereignty, since the sovereign ban corresponds to the authentic structure of potentiality.
Indeed, just as potentiality could suspend itself and through which it becomes twofaced, the sovereign structure also becomes double, suspending itself while maintaining itself in relation to the ban, and, therefore, claiming that “constituting power never exhausts itself in constituted power is not enough, sovereign power can also, as such, maintain itself indefinitely without ever passing over into actuality” Here it is worth asking a simple question: Indeed, one can argue that the potentiality of a musician to play the piano, for instance, is weakened if for a long period it does not pass into act.
For Agamben, however, potentiality in its two forms is that “through which Being founds itself sovereignly, which is to say, without anything preceding or determining it other than its own ability not to be” id.
Therefore, the question that remains open is that of the relation between impotentiality and practice, which could be translated as a political question concerning the ability of the sovereign ban to capture life by suspending itself without passing into actuality. Agamben’s use of the notion of potentiality as a tool to determine the extent to which constituting and constituted power are mutually imbricated, disclosing a deeper paradox at the core of the sovereign ban constitutes, no doubt, a successful attempt to ndua the structure of the sovereign ban in its capacity to suspend itself.
However, the Aristotelian concept of potentiality is not only essentially different from what Negri or Arendt meant aamben constituting and constituted power at the historical level, but also it does not confine the politicalpractical dimension of the debate. Central to Agamben’s approach to the dialectic between constituting and constituted power through the category of potentiality is his move from political philosophy to first philosophy, which is ultimately, what allows the reading of Agamben’s notion of sovereignty to be teleological.
It is worth quoting Agamben in full on this point:. The unresolved dialectic between constituting power and constituted power opens the way for a new articulation of the relation between potentiality and actuality, which requires nothing less than a rethinking of the ontological categories of modality in their totality.
The problem is therefore moved from political philosophy to first philosophy or, if one likes, politics is returned to its ontological position.
And only if it is possible to think the relation between potentiality and actuality differently —and even to think aagamben this relation— will it be possible to think a constituting power wholly released from the sovereign ban.
Until a new and coherent ontology of potentiality beyond the steps that have been made in this direction by Spinoza, Schelling, Nietzsche, and Heidegger has replaced the ontology founded on the primacy of actuality and its relation to potentiality, a political theory freed from the aporias of sovereignty remains unthinkable.
In PotentialitiesAgamben clearly connects the idea of potentiality with a particular conception of ontology. Indeed, in this essay, Agamben claims that every human power is im-potentiality and, paradoxically, “every human potentiality is always-already held in relation to its own privation” The remark of “human potentiality” comes from Agamben’s belief that other living beings are capable only of their “specific potentiality. At this point, Agamben’s reading of Heidegger comes to the fore, so that the thinking of Being is always the thinking of the potentiality of Being, and potentiality has always primacy over actuality cf.
Agamben’s ontology in the realm of sovereignty and potentiality is therefore tied to this particular conception of Being. This is also evident in Language and Deathwhere Agamben engages with the analysis of Heidegger’s notion of death, making an ontological choice: However, this ontological choice is marked by the problematisation of the Aristotelian definition of the human being as an “animal that speaks” and the agamnen negativity of language that this definition implies.
He claims that for the metaphysical tradition, the limit of language has been thought as a presupposition of a relation between a negative transcendent foundation and what can be said cf. Therefore, Agamben’s ontology is an attempt that, while retaining Heidegger’s notion of Being, proposes to rethink the negativity of language claiming vidda “the unthought or non-being is not to be consigned to a lack, an ineffability, or as the arch-presupposition of a negative definition of being, but instead as its very affirmative and exposed condition of possibility” Zartaloudis This ontological position is ambivalent: At this point, we can go back to Agamben’s definition of structure of the exception and the category of potentiality immersed in this ontological position to see how this tension is resolved in Homo Sacer in favor of a totalising conception of sovereignty, despite Agamben’s appeal for a politics freed from every ban.
Certainly, taking into account that the relation of the exception is a relation of ban cf. To move from the political dimension of constituting and constituted power to an ontology of potentiality is to take the paradox of sovereignty to the extreme in which sovereignty itself becomes the pure potentiality of Being to suspend itself in a agambsn of ban, where at the limit, “pure potentiality and pure actuality are indistinguishable, and the sovereign is precisely this zone of indistinction” It is in this sense that Agamben’s definition of sovereignty renders meaningless any attempt to dissociate democracy from totalitarianism 8 cf.
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Agambenwhich constitutes not a historiographical claim, but rather a historical-philosophical one, according to which, ultimately, democracy does not break the link between violence and law. In order to break this link and thus to render the exception inoperative, Agamben relies on the ambiguous expectation of a new ontology of potentiality, pointing in a theological direction.
Furthermore, Agamben’s invocation of potentiality tied to a particular ontological decision exacerbates the paradox of sovereignty to a point at which the whole biopolitical production necessarily passes through the exceptionality of sovereignty. However, the parallel that Agamben draws between the structure of the ban and that of the Aristotelian potentiality could also be conceived in a certain sense as a step away from Schmitt, since the state of exception becomes already immersed in every ndua juridical or not where empty forms of relations produce the zone of indistinguishability between life and law cf.
In other words, sovereignty becomes omnipresent through its own suspension so that it is no longer a juridical-technical dispositif, but rather becomes a grey zone of impotentiality. Here, Walter Benjamin comes to the fore once again, so that the state of exception becomes the rule due to an intensification of its own undecidability, fida also means that “the state of exception is no longer able to fulfill the function Schmitt assigned to it in Political Theology: The state of exception is not meant to produce or confirm the rule —it tends, rather, to coincide with it, that is to say, to blur it” Agamben b This partial reading of Agamben —without the Schmittian ghost of decisionism—, would not clash with an understanding of the way in which the biopolitical transformation of sovereignty has displaced both, the juridical exception and the law giving more relevance to the norm.
However, as it has been shown, this de-centering of sovereignty is only achieved through its ontologisation as impotentiality, in which, by suspended itself, it permeates every relation of power. That is to say, the dislocation of sovereignty in Agamben is the result of the dramatisation of the paradox of sovereignty by which the figure of the Vifa is re-established in a structure of exception that exceeds the juridical order, rather than being the affirmation of the dislocation of the state of exception and agmben the law as the privileged categories that inform nuea political production of bare life.
In other words, through the invocation of Aristotle’s metaphysical concept of im-potentiality Agamben places himself between Schmitt and Benjamin, displacing sovereignty from the strictly juridical exception but nonetheless retaining it within the structure of sovereign ban as a totalising structure that “captures and incorporates Benjamin’s conception of a pure violence that exists outside the law”