More Contemporary Political Comparisons

This reading brought a number of contemporary political issues to mind. Instead of posting on each one, I thought I would just summarize in one post and see if any spur interest.


I've been trying to think of some example of a homo sacer (I think having a referent really lets me grasp the concept at hand with more depth, at least most of the time), and the only thing that keeps coming up in my head is the idea of a pirate (yes, of the Caribbean!).

Agamben diagrams and always already entering into language

I really liked the illustrations of the states of nature and law in the state of exception on page 38. I feel seeing it drawn out as such--with the two separate entities (fig. 1) that then meld into one another (fig 2), and then finally become indistinguishable was really helpful.


So, from what I understand, the homer sacer is the individual who lives in this paradoxical state being one who is exiled yet tied/identified as a person due to the law. Interestingly, it is this individual who lives in the same kind of paradoxical state as that of the sovereign who Agamben describes is simultaneously outside and within the laws of society. Or in other words, the sovereign excludes himself above the law since he has the power to suspend the law and create exceptions, yet is intrinsically tied to the law because he is also subjected to the same laws.


I just wanted to point out the analogy in the beginning that I found particularly helpful in getting my head around what Agamben is talking about. This is the analogy that he gabe about the phone and logos, or in English, the voice and the language. He provides this analogy to parallel the relationship between the bare life and the political life.

Agamben on the ground: moving beyond humanitarianism

Out of curiosity, what do people think about alternatives to the issue of the rhetoric of humanitarianism that Agamben critiques?


It is interesting how the prerequisite to the political life is the bare life yet this bare life is what is technically being excluded from the political life. This delicate balance is what Agamben constitutes as a relationship between the bare life and the political life. It is another example of the common postmodern trend to be as complex as possible and exist in a state that sounds contradictory.

conflation of zoe and bios: perhaps just our ideological lens?

I hate to go back to the now time-old argument about whether or not postmodernism is anything new or just some rearticulation of modernity, etc. but i struggled throughout this text with the lack of distinction that Agemben makes between the state of zoe and bios in present versus throughout history. I understand somewhat clearly the connection of their collapse to our present moment that he mentions (p.

I think it's interesting

That no one has yet posted about terrorism: the war on terror, state-less criminals/freedom fighters, and the role of international bodies like the International Court of Justice.

Zoe, bios and subjectivation?

There is a great deal about the underlying implications of Agemben's argument that resonated as a slightly different take on Butler's same dilemma. Where Agemben argues for the collapse of zoe and bios such that our once natural and pure 'bare life' is politicized in a way that the two experiences may no longer be had without the other, Butler seems to be implicitly positing a similar case for pre-subjectivity.

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