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bare life

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben's concept for life that has been exposed to what he terms the structure of exception that constitutes contemporary biopower. The term originates in ...

bare life

bare life   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory

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Current Version:
2010

...life lived. Bare life refers then to a conception of life in which the sheer biological fact of life is given priority over the way a life is lived, by which Agamben means its possibilities and potentialities. Suggestions made in 2008 by Scotland Yard and the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain that children as young as five should be DNA typed and their details placed in a database if they exhibit behavioural signs indicating future criminal activity is a perfect example of what Agamben means by bare life. It reduces the prospects of the life of...

bare life

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...life lived. Bare life refers then to a conception of life in which the sheer biological fact of life is given priority over the way a life is lived, by which Agamben means its possibilities and potentialities. Suggestions made in 2008 by Scotland Yard and the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain that children as young as five should be DNA typed and their details placed in a database if they exhibit behavioural signs indicating future criminal activity is a perfect example of what Agamben means by bare life. It reduces the prospects of the life of...

bare life

bare life  

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben's concept for life that has been exposed to what he terms the structure of exception that constitutes contemporary biopower. The term originates in Agamben's ...
grievable life

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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Current Version:
2018

...the ‘right to life’—not just with regards abortion, but also voluntary euthanasia. Specifically she wants to reverse the usual line of argument that holds that all life is worth living, i.e., worth saving because it is ‘life’, and instead argue that it is only because we would grieve the absence of that life that it is worth saving. Therefore, grief is the precondition of the life worth saving and not life itself (or what Agamben calls bare life ). Our ethical obligations are, she says, to the conditions that make life grievable, not to life itself. This is...

homo sacer

homo sacer   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory

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Current Version:
2010

...exterminationist politics. The very same possibility, he argues, is at the origin of democracy too, a fact that is displayed in the way politics has been constituted as a biopower focused on the population not the individual. See also bare life . Further Reading: G. Agamben Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1998). G. Agamben Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive ...

homo sacer

homo sacer   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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2018

...exterminationist politics. The very same possibility, he argues, is at the origin of democracy too, a fact that is displayed in the way politics has been constituted as a biopower focused on the population not the individual. See also bare life . Further Reading: G. Agamben Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1998). G. Agamben Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive (1999)....

Agamben, Giorgio

Agamben, Giorgio (1942)   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory

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2010

... bios and zoē —which Classical Philosophy uses to distinguish between political life ( bios ), i.e. a form of life regulated by notions of the good and the proper, and the simple fact of life itself ( zoē ), i.e. that which animals and humans have in common—does not exist in most modern European languages. Following Foucault, he shows that the effect of this collapsing of the distinction between bios and zoē has been the creation of a kind of politics of bare life , or biopolitics . Agamben finds this development disturbing. He sees it as the...

differend

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory

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Current Version:
2010

...enemy combatants (which would be covered by the Geneva convention) nor on US soil (which would place them under jurisdiction of the US judiciary). The language, the opportunity, and the means to articulate any wrong that may have befallen them is also denied them. See also bare life ; biopower...

differend

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...enemy combatants (which would be covered by the Geneva convention) nor on US soil (which would place them under jurisdiction of the US judiciary). The language, the opportunity, and the means to articulate any wrong that may have befallen them is also denied them. See also bare life ; biopower...

Agamben, Giorgio

Agamben, Giorgio (1942– )   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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2018

... ( 2005 ), The Signature of All Things ( 2009 ), and The Use of Bodies ( 2016 )), draws on his classical background to develop a theory of what he calls bare life ( nuda vita ). Agamben notes that classical philosophy, unlike contemporary western philosophy, distinguishes between political life ( bios ), i.e. a form of life regulated by notions of the good and the proper, and the simple fact of life itself ( zōē ), i.e. that which animals and humans have in common. Agamben shows that although this distinction does not exist in most modern European...

biopower

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory

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Current Version:
2010

...it concerned itself with every aspect of life, right down to its most minute parts, though only in the abstract. It was interested in the health of the people in statistical terms, not existential terms—it cared about how people live and die, but not who lives and dies. For the first time in history, Foucault argues, biological existence was reflected in political existence, and in consequence the very existence of the species itself was wagered on political questions. Giorgio Agamben 's theory of bare life originates in this thesis as does Hardt and...

biopower

biopower   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...it concerned itself with every aspect of life, right down to its most minute parts, though only in the abstract. It was interested in the health of the people in statistical terms, not existential terms—it cared about how people live and die, but not who lives and dies. For the first time in history, Foucault argues, biological existence was reflected in political existence, and in consequence the very existence of the species itself was wagered on political questions. Giorgio Agamben ’s theory of bare life originates in this thesis as does Hardt and...

multitude

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory

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Current Version:
2010

...and (more explicitly) in Multitude ( 2004 ), Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri adapt the Spinozian term to conceive of a new form of political subjectivity. Consisting of singularities rather than individuals, that is to say social subjects who cannot be reduced to their bare life , the multitude is, according to Hardt and Negri, the only form of political subjectivity capable of realizing democracy for what it truly is, namely the rule of everyone by everyone. It is an immanent rather than transcendent concept, so it should not be confused with the idea...

multitude

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...and (more explicitly) in Multitude ( 2004 ), Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri adapt the Spinozian term to conceive of a new form of political subjectivity. Consisting of singularities rather than individuals, that is to say social subjects who cannot be reduced to their bare life , the multitude is, according to Hardt and Negri, the only form of political subjectivity capable of realizing democracy for what it truly is, namely the rule of everyone by everyone. It is an immanent rather than transcendent concept, so it should not be confused with the idea...

autoimmunity

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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Current Version:
2018

...not take into account its constitutive capacity for self-harm. But more importantly it means we cannot fully understand the state, including the democratic state, if we do not take into account its willingness to sacrifice a part of itself for the good of the whole. See also bare life ; part who have no part . Further Reading: G Borradori (ed) Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida ...

Adorno, Theodor

Adorno, Theodor (1903–69)   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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2018

...will not be repeated. It also contains the famous pronouncement that there can be no poetry after Auschwitz, by which he seems to have meant that it is literally impossible to arrange one’s thoughts in an era in which the accidental nature of fortune has been so brutally laid bare. Adorno argued that there was no logical or automatic response one could be expected to make with regard to the Holocaust, and to try to trade on it for aesthetic or political purposes was thoroughly repugnant to him. He also argued that any critique of fascism that was not also a...

dirty realism

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

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Current Version:
2015

...attached since the early 1980s to a group of American short-story writers, of whom the best-known are Raymond Carver , Jayne Anne Phillips , and Tobias Wolff . The term refers to a tendency for their stories to recount incidents of impoverished life among blue-collar workers in small-town America, in a bare, unsensational...

homo sacer

homo sacer  

Translated literally as ‘sacred man’, this classical concept has attracted significant attention in contemporary critical theory because Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has devoted several books ...
Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben  

(1942–)Italianphilosopher best known for his concept of homo sacer. Agamben studied at the University of Rome, completing a doctorate on the political thought of Simone Weil. In 1966 and 1968 he ...
differend

differend  

A wrong or injustice that arises because the discourse in which the wrong might be expressed does not exist. To put it another way, it is a wrong or injustice that arises because the prevailing or ...

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