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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 ...

Agamben, Giorgio

Agamben, Giorgio (1942– )   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
104 words

..., Giorgio ( 1942–  ). Philosopher who has published important studies on aesthetics. He graduated at Rome University with a thesis on Simone Weil and currently teaches at Verona. Deeply influenced by Walter Benjamin , his thought combines political commitment, theoretical synthesis, and critical attention to specific cultural phenomena, together with a pessimistic interpretation of modernity. He attempts to go beyond idealism and to redraw the relationship between universality and singularity, assigning a central role to the renovatory potential of...

Agamben, Giorgio

Agamben, Giorgio (1942– )   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...Benjamin’s work): The Open ( 2004 ), The Kingdom and the Glory ( 2011 ), and The Highest Poverty ( 2013 ). Further Reading: K. Attell Giorgio Agamben: Beyond the Threshold of Deconstruction (2014). L. De la Durantaye Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction (2009). C. Mills The Philosophy of Agamben (2008). http://www.iep.utm.edu/agamben/ A comprehensive overview of Giorgio Agamben’s work, with references and further...

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 ...
Aut-Aut

Aut-Aut  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
(1951– ). Philosophical and cultural review founded by Enzo Paci in Milan, currently published every two months and edited by Pier Aldo Rovatti. Noted for the high quality of its writing ...
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 ...
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 ...
biopower

biopower  

A form of political power that revolves around populations (humans as a species or as productive capacity) rather than individuals (humans as subjects or citizens). The focus of much of his late ...
imagined community

imagined community  

Benedict Anderson's definition of nation. In Imagined Communities (1983) Anderson argues that the nation is an imagined political community that is inherently limited in scope and sovereign in ...
citizen

citizen  

[Ge]A member of a politically or administratively defined community, having both rights and duties associated with that membership.
Aut-Aut

Aut-Aut   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
59 words

...( 1951–  ). Philosophical and cultural review founded by Enzo Paci in Milan , currently published every two months and edited by Pier Aldo Rovatti . Noted for the high quality of its writing, it has published contributions from Giorgio Agamben , Gianni Vattimo , and others, and is a significant reference point for the most recent developments in contemporary thought. [ Michael Caesar...

Introduction to Italian

Introduction to Italian   Reference library

The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,347 words

...Gramsci and Galvano della Volpe responded to the burgeoning interest in cultural and political theory. The debates on postmodernism and ethics at the close of the 20th c. have been informed by resourceful English versions of such contemporary thinkers as Gianni Vattimo and Giorgio Agamben. Many major Italian dramatists have appeared in translation, and the versions have often been staged. Torquato Tasso's [II.m.7] pastoral drama Aminta ( 1573 ) was translated repeatedly during the 17th and 18th c., although today it is of interest only to specialists....

bare life

bare life   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...life ( nuda vita ) 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 observation that the Ancient Greeks had two different words for what in contemporary European languages is simply referred to as ‘life’: bios (the form or manner in which life is lived) and zōē (the biological fact of life). His argument is that the loss of this distinction obscures the fact that in a political context, the word ‘life’...

homo sacer

homo sacer   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...man’, this classical concept has attracted significant attention in contemporary critical theory because Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has devoted several books to exploring the intricacies of its multi-layered meaning. Homo sacer is a paradoxical figure: it is the one who may not be sacrificed, yet may be murdered with impunity. In this sense, the homo sacer is outside or beyond both divine and human law. Agamben’s provocative thesis is that the homo sacer is evidence not merely of an original ambivalence in the notion of the sacred, as...

citizen

citizen   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...the land, and to perform such duties as are asked; failure to do so can result in citizenship being withdrawn. This obligation is usually thought of as mutual in that by virtue of your being a citizen the state is required to treat you in a certain way, but as the work of Giorgio Agamben , among others, has shown, the state retains the right to make exceptions, and thereby negate the very rights it is supposed to guarantee. Further Reading: R. Bellamy Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction ...

Arendt, Hannah

Arendt, Hannah (1906–75)   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...she had in mind those people, like the Jews in Germany, who have had their citizenship revoked by the state; but also those displaced persons who find they cannot return to their state because it has been destroyed or somehow rendered closed to them. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has developed this aspect of Arendt’s work in his analyses of what he calls the homo sacer . Probably her most influential work, The Human Condition ( 1958 ) pursued the problems raised in the previous work by examining political action, specifically the establishment of...

value

value   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...come into conflict over issues like the right to life of the unborn foetus versus the right to decide of the mother, or equally problematically the right to die of terminally ill patients versus the medical profession’s commitment to life. As both Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben have pointed out, however, placing a value on life in this way has given rise to a new form of governmentality that they both describe as biopower . In economics, it is Karl Marx , above all others, who has devoted the most effort to thinking through what value means....

biopower

biopower   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...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 Negri ’s concepts of Empire and multitude . Further Reading: H. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (1983). M. Foucault La Volonté de savoir (1976), translated...

imagined community

imagined community   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...exercise of abstract thought. The imagined community is limited because regardless of size it is never taken to be co-extensive with humanity itself—not even extreme ideologies such as Nazism, with its pretensions to world dominance, imagine this; in fact, as Giorgio Agamben has argued, such ideologies tend to be premised on a generalization of an exception. Its borders are finite but elastic and permeable. The imagined community is sovereign because its legitimacy is not derived from divinity as kingship is—the nation is its own authority, it...

precarity

precarity   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...e.g. refugees. Precarity in this sense is a condition of maximum vulnerability for which there is no obvious source of relief. The statelessness of refugees means that no state is obliged to come to their aid and give them shelter; they are therefore ‘let to die’ as Giorgio Agamben has put it. Butler’s project consists in asking how the perception of precarity can be used to ground an ethics of life. Her answer to this question is rather uncertain because, while she thinks the recognition of precarity imposes upon us an obligation to act to ameliorate...

ANIMAL

ANIMAL   Reference library

Natalie Depraz

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
3,360 words

...In Agamben’s hands, bare life is linked both to an ideal conception—one where individual lives are not weighed, measured, judged, or valued against their fulfillment of certain criteria (being red, Communist, Italian, etc.)—and to a potentially dangerous one, as in instances where individuals and groups are stripped of all rights associated with such belonging and reduced to a mere nude or bare life, subjected to unqualified suffering. Leland De la Durantaye Bibliography Agamben, Giorgio . “Bartleby o Della contingenza.” In Giorgio Agamben and Gilles...

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