- Paperback: 228 pages
- Publisher: Stanford University Press (1 April 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804732183
- ISBN-13: 978-0804732185
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) Paperback – 1 Apr 1998
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" The story of homo sacer is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations." -- Modernism/Modernity
" Agamben' s intuition, chronicle and meditation are fascinating." -- "The Review of Politics"
" The story of "homo sacer" is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations." -- "Modernism/Modernity"
0;Agamben7;s intuition, chronicle and meditation are fascinating.1;2; "The Review of Politics"
0;The story of "homo sacer" is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations.1;2; "Modernism/Modernity"
Agamben’s intuition, chronicle and meditation are fascinating.”"The Review of Politics"
The story of "homo sacer" is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations.”"Modernism/Modernity"
"The story of "homo sacer" is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations.""Modernism/Modernity""
"Agamben's intuition, chronicle and meditation are fascinating."--The Review of Politics
"The story of homo sacer is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations."--Modernism/Modernity
-Agamben's intuition, chronicle and meditation are fascinating.---The Review of Politics
-The story of homo sacer is certainly worth reading because of its suggestiveness and provocations.---Modernism/Modernity
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Top Customer Reviews
With the advent of National Socialism - brilliantly analyzed through Agamben's application of Foucault's notion of "biopolitics" - homo sacer becomes central to the way in which citizenship and life are conceived by the state. The concentration camp, an arena legally constituted where no law exists, becomes the ultimate space where sovreignty over life is constituted. Even with the disappearance of Auschwitz in 1945, argues Agamben, the concentration camp casts its shadow over the way the state describes life, different legal categories of life and their limits. While perhaps Agamben concepts could be tested more thoroughly in their various mid and late twentieth century contexts in order to refine his argument, this is a compelling (and terrifying) view of the operation of state power and politics in our era.
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.
The basic thesis Agamben advances is that sovereignty (hence state power) is constructed through the exclusion (which is simultaneously an inclusion-as-exception) of "bare life", which is to say, the body and relations of force. This exclusion returns in the figure of sovereign power (as law-making and thus as excess over law) and its construction of homo sacer, a type of subject who can be "killed but not sacrificed" (and who is thus outside both profane and sacred law). Homo sacer reaches his apogee in the camp, such as Nazi concentration camps. The camp is the "paradigm" of the modern state, and homo sacer and the "state of exception" in which the state suspends basic rights is becoming the normal condition of politics.
There are several problems here. The first is that Agamben is prone to argue by assertion and exegesis. The result is that his claims are largely unsupported and "take it or leave it" - either you're convinced by his account or you aren't. The second is that he doesn't draw political conclusions from what is obviously a political subject. If the state of exception and homo sacer are inherent to state sovereignty as such, Agamben's thesis would seem to be a powerful case for anarchism, yet he never draws any such implication, nor addresses the corresponding question of how else bodies can be "politicised". Thirdly, the thesis isn't really as original as Agamben seems to think - it's a repetition of themes arising in the work of A. Hirschman, John Zerzan, ecofeminists such as Robyn Eckersley, the Frankfurt School (e.g.Read more ›
To be sure this is not a layman's read. An uncanny facility with language including the classical languages, German, French and English is a requisite - as indeed it is for all worthwhile modern philosophy - in addition to a deeply philosophical and noble temperament.
The highlights include incredible and mind-boggling interpretations of a Kafka parable, fragments by Pindar, Holderlin, Benjamin and Carl Schmidt as well as the great Aristotle - but so much more is contained in this exceptional book such as interpretations of the messiah, even the Antichrist, the concept of the wolf-man (werewolf) and the most astute understanding of sovereign power I have had the chance to read:
A real feast. Don't miss out!
P.S. I look forward to reading the sequels to this monumental work of thought, namely State of Exception and The Kingdom and the Glory.
Five stars, no question
Most Recent Customer Reviews
an interesting book, but to take the Hobbesian idea that an individual who no longer comes under any law is returned to a state of nature - cast out so that anybody who kills that... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Geoff Foote