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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.)

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’s Political Theory

Giorgio Agamben’s Political Theory   Reference library

Oliver W. Lembcke

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Communication and Critical Cultural Studies

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2019
Subject:
Social sciences
Length:
14,035 words

...on Giorgio Agamben’s homo sacer (pp. 198–221). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Nancy, J.-L. (1993). Abandoned being. In J.-L. Nancy (Ed.), The birth to presence (pp. 36–47). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Norris, A. (2005). Introduction: Giorgio Agamben and the politics of the living dead. In A. Norris (Ed.), Politics, metaphysics, and death: Essays on Giorgio Agamben’s homo sacer (pp. 1–30). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Norris, M. A. (2018). Existential choice as repressed theism: Jean-Paul Sartre and Giorgio Agamben in...

homo sacer

homo sacer   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
119 words

...outside the law, whose life is deemed of no value and who may therefore be killed with impunity. Meaning ‘sacred man’ in Latin, the term originally referred to certain categories of person under Roman law. In recent years it has been elaborated by Italian political theorist Giorgio Agamben to explore the ways in which sovereign power relegates some persons to states of ‘bare life’, i.e. exposed to violence. Geographers interested in prisons, immigrant detention centres, and sites of extreme state violence have used and reflected on this concept ( see ...

sovereignty

sovereignty   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
862 words

...at Guantánamo Bay or, more generally, the detention of asylum-seekers in offshore locations, there is growing interest in the idea of sovereignty not as the source of law but as the power to suspend law. Following the ideas of German jurist and philosopher Carl Schmitt, Giorgio Agamben has explored the idea of the ‘state of exception’, often associated with national states of emergency. This can be extended to spaces of exception, sites where legal protections are withheld ( see homo sacer ). Further reading Agnew, J. (2005), ‘Sovereignty regimes:...

bare life

bare life   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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...

Articulations of Sovereignty

Articulations of Sovereignty   Reference library

Claudia Aradau

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
11,153 words

...in the nineteenth century, biopolitics is an eighteenth century development, and empire appears to be a post–World War II development. Some of the criticisms formulated against these periodizations have upheld continuity against discontinuity and vice versa. For example, Giorgio Agamben ( 1998 ) has argued for the continuity of biopolitics since Roman law. Barkawi and Laffey ( 2002 ) have been critical of Hardt and Negri's Empire for positing a break between the modern and the postmodern. Some of these debates about what constitutes change in the...

Critical Theory, Security, and Emancipation

Critical Theory, Security, and Emancipation   Reference library

K.M. Fierke

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
10,071 words

...to what Giorgio Agamben ( 1998 ) refers to as “bare life.” The citizen of “normal politics,” derived, for instance, from Aristotle’s conception, engages in political debate and decision making. In Foucault’s argument, sovereign power revolves around the governance of populations and biological life rather than political life. The subject of politics is no longer the potential agency of the citizen, but the management of life itself. In this respect, the founding political image of the West has shifted from “Athens to Auschwitz” ( Agamben 2004 :169). Auschwitz...

Sovereignty as a Problematic Conceptual Core

Sovereignty as a Problematic Conceptual Core   Reference library

Rosemary E. Shinko

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
10,792 words

...Ethics and Violence: War against the Other . London: Routledge. Burns, J. (ed.) (1991) The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450–1700 . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Calarco, M. , and DeCaroli, S. (eds.) (2006) Sovereignty and Life: Essays on Giorgio Agamben . Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Camilleri, J. , and Falk, J. (1992) The End of Sovereignty? The Politics of a Shrinking and Fragmenting World . Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Campbell, D. (1993) Politics without Principle: Sovereignty, Ethics, and the Narratives...

Security Practices

Security Practices   Reference library

Thierry Balzacq, Tugba Basaran, Didier Bigo, Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, and Christian Olsson

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
10,959 words

...in other words, an abnormalization of parts of society by creating lines of division and exclusion inside each society along distinct but overlapping criteria: gender, class, poverty, race, ability to move. Combining the term “ban” used by Jean-Luc Nancy, as refigured by Giorgio Agamben, and the term “opticon,” as used by Foucault, we call this a “ban-opticon” ( Bigo 2006a ; 2006b ). The concept of ban-opticon, as opposed to that of “pan-opticon,” allows us to understand how a network of heterogeneous and transversal practices functions and makes sense as...

Geographic Insights into Political Identity

Geographic Insights into Political Identity   Reference library

Emily Gilbert

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
11,308 words

...K. (2006) Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. McKittrick, K. , and Woods, C. (eds.) (2007) Black Geographies and the Politics of Place . Cambridge: South End Press. Minca, C. (2006) Giorgio Agamben and the New Biopolitical Nomos. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 88 (4), 387–403. Mitchell, D. (2003) The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space . New York: Guilford Press. Mitchell, K. (1997) Different Diasporas and the Hype of...

Late Modernity/Postmodernity

Late Modernity/Postmodernity   Reference library

Alina Sajed

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
10,952 words

...theorists whose works have had enormous currency in the development of research projects focused on migration and securitization, on globalization, and on global technologies of risk, such as Pierre Bourdieu ( Bigo 2002 ; Leander 2005 ; Bigo and Tsoukala 2008b ), Giorgio Agamben ( Nyers 2006b ; Constantinou 2008 ; Huysmans 2008 ), Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari ( Doty 1999 ; 2003 ; Walters 2006 ), Paul Virilio ( Connolly 2002b ; Nyers 2006a ), and Ulrich Beck ( Aradau et al. 2008 ). This expanding agenda relies on the notion...

Feminisms Troubling the Boundaries of International Relations

Feminisms Troubling the Boundaries of International Relations   Reference library

Christine Sylvester

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
11,292 words

...as they face a world of complex identities and politics. Christine Sylvester Lancaster University References Ackerly, Brooke , Stern, Maria , and True, Jacqui (2006) Feminist Methodologies for International Relations . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Agamben, Giorgio (1998) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life , trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen . Stanford: Stanford University Press. Alarcon, Norma (1990) The Theoretical Subject(s) of This Bridge Called My Back and Anglo-American Feminism. In Gloria Anzaldua (ed.) Making Face, Making...

Intersecting Geographies of Institutions and Sovereignty

Intersecting Geographies of Institutions and Sovereignty   Reference library

Alexander B. Murphy

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
Length:
10,763 words

...such as in borderlands or military bases overseas, human rights are threatened. The advancement of universal human rights may well depend on strong state sovereignty, not its erosion” ( 2005 :38). The counterargument is that a space of exception (using the term coined by Giorgio Agamben ) such as Guantánamo Bay is a product of a territorial state. Taking a different tack, Derek Gregory ( 2006 ) argues that we should not simply accept Guantánamo Bay as a space of exception, but see it instead as a space of struggle, where arguments can (and should) be...

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