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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– )   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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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 ...
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 ...
bare life

bare life   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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...

Biopolitics and Asian America

Biopolitics and Asian America   Reference library

Belinda Kong

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

...notoriously unstraightforward. 2 When critics invoke Foucauldian biopolitics, they may be referring to any of several models, from his notion of panoptic disciplinary power 3 to his later outlining of population control and liberal governmentality. 4 Alongside Foucault, Giorgio Agamben has played an equally influential role in shaping critical discussions of biopolitics, especially via his formulations of the state of exception, sovereign power, and bare life or homo sacer . 5 Since 2000 , a host of other figures have emerged or been reclaimed as key...

Dispositif

Dispositif   Reference library

Ricky Crano

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2022
Subject:
Literature, Literary theory and cultural studies
Length:
12,959 words

... Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 12. 90. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 13. 91. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 12. 92. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 11, 20. 93. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 14. 94. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 14. 95. Cf. Tom Frost, “The Dispositif between Foucault and Agamben,” Law, Culture and the Humanities (2015): 1–21. 96. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 15. 97. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 22. 98. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 22. 99. Agamben, “What Is an Apparatus?,” 23. 100. Agamben,...

Singularity

Singularity   Reference library

Derek Attridge

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2022

...2008), 50. 14. Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field , trans. Susan Emanuel (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995), xix. 15. Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community , trans. Michael Hardt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 1. 16. Agamben, The Coming Community , 9. 17. Agamben, The Coming Community , 67. 18. Agamben, The Coming Community , 86. 19. Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural , trans. Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. O’Byrne (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000 ), 30....

Animal

Animal   Reference library

Christopher Peterson

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2022

...racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism. On this view, humanism’s inherent anthropocentrism betrays a speciesist devaluing of the countless nonhuman beings with whom we share the same world. Among the myriad critiques of anthropocentrism, Giorgio Agamben’s The Open counts among the most influential. Here Agamben introduced his concept of the “anthropological machine,” which he divides into its premodern and post-Darwinian versions. 11 The former hinges on “humanizing” the animal by constructing the slave, the barbarian, and the foreigner as occupying a...

Parody and Pastiche

Parody and Pastiche   Reference library

Leonard Diepeveen

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2022

...on the specificity of the term’s application, from the most general (Agamben) to the most specific (Genette, Hoesterey). These positions are accompanied by a parallel strategy on the place of distinctions, with critics such as Genette and Hoesterey arguing for the value of separating citational works into several discrete categories, while others—such as Gross and Dentith—evince a distrust of the stability and usefulness of such distinctions. Further Reading Agamben, Giorgio . Profanations . Translated by Jeff Fort . New York: Zone, 2007. Bakhtin...

The Indigenous Presence and Central American-American Writers in the United States

The Indigenous Presence and Central American-American Writers in the United States   Reference library

Arturo Arias

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latina and Latino Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

...deities. 105. Milian, Latining America , 148. 106. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 139. 107. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 121. 108. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 140. 109. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 140. 110. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 140. 111. Giorgio Agamben , Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life , trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 112. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 141. 113. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 142. 114. Ruiz, “Ta o’lol takin osil,” 142. Pox is a liquor made of...

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