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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...

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)   Reference library

Julia Ng

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
3,834 words

...in Western Culture (1977). Translated by Ronald L. Martinez . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Other Sources Geulen, Eva . Giorgio Agamben zur Einführung . Revised and expanded edition. Hamburg, Germany: Junius Verlag, 2009. La Durantaye, Leland de . Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction . Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2009. Mills, Catherine . The Philosophy of Agamben . Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008. Julia...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

film archaeology

film archaeology   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Film Studies (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Media studies
Length:
387 words

...and historical work in order to unearth the complex genealogies of a range of media forms, including the cinema. Further reading: Elsaesser, Thomas ‘The New Film History as Media Archaeology’, Printemps , 14 (2–3), 75–117 (2004). Harbord, Janet Ex-Centric Cinema: Giorgio Agamben and Film Archaeology (2016). Parikka, Jussi What is Media Archaeology? (2012). https://loriemerson.net/2016/06/25/as-if-or-using-media-archaeology-to-reimagine-past-present-and-future/ Lori Emerson reflects on her work at the Media Archaeology Lab at the University of Colorado...

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...

sovereignty

sovereignty   Reference library

The New Oxford Companion to Law

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Law
Length:
1,250 words

...But the capacities of a totalizing sovereign power have not vanished. The most influential contemporary accounts of sovereignty have observed that sovereign authority is constituted through the abandonment of a life that would ordinarily be subject to legal protection. Giorgio Agamben in Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life ( 1998 ) has elaborated how the ‘camp’ is the paradigm of modern sovereignty. In the camp, the hollowness of the sacredness of life associated with the elevation of the ‘human’ above the ‘animal’ is exposed. Life is rendered...

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:...

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...

Glory

Glory   Reference library

Susan E. Hylen

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Religion
Length:
5,154 words

...is perceptible to humankind. Twenty-first-century political theology. The idea of glory has been taken up by political theorist Giorgio Agamben ( b. 1942 ). His book The Kingdom and the Glory is part of a lineage of scholarly work which traces the migration of theological concepts into the ideology of the modern state. For Agamben, the idea of glory is one such concept that, now secularized, forms the basis of government. Agamben notes the way that kābôd in the Old Testament has a dual reference, to God’s own splendor and to human acclamation ( 2011 , p....

Communism

Communism   Reference library

Theodore Jennings

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
3,414 words

...short. Giorgio Agamben has insisted that it is precisely the urgency of what Paul refers to as the now time ( ho nun kairos ) in which it is necessary and possible to enact the coming justice that characterizes messianic politics, then and now ( 2005 , pp. 59–78). For those who suppose that there is no such time compression, that things never really change, the dream or hope of communism will always seem to be foolish, something that Paul also said with respect to his proclamation of the cross ( 1 Cor 1:18 ). Bibliography Agamben, Giorgio . The Time...

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