8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
profound, troubling and difficult,
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This review is from: Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) (Paperback)
Homo Sacer is one of those few books that after reading I was a different person. It is a profound but very difficult text to understand. However difficult it may be, I would argue it is a necessary read for anyone who is interested in current politics matters of law and many contemporary ethical issues. In the introduction Agamben reflects on the fact that the Ancient Greeks had two words for life bios, and zoe: he characterizes Zeo as natural or "Bare Life" and argues that this, inclusions by exclusion of Zoe from bios is a fault-line that has been in the heart of politics (western) from its very inception. Building on the ideas of Foucault, Arendt, and in definition of Sovereignty suggested by Schmitt "sovereign is he who decides on the state of exception" Agamben constructs a power critic of political-Judical systems, and how they come more and more to exercise their power on the bodies of their subjects, the camps and the holocaust being the most extreme expression. However Homo Sacer is a very difficult read in the tradition of Continental Philosophy, I also feel it is something of an introduction to Remnants of Auschwitz.
Once read nobody can hear the argument surrounding "the war on terror" in the same way. Agamben raises many challenging questions, although it has to be said not all that many solutions. However difficult this text is it is profound and important a must read.