Agambens Essay Giorgio Homo Sacer

When one reads this early example of “potentiality” in the light of the later writings of Giorgio Agamben, one can grasp his main opposition to Carl Schmitt.

Hans Blumenberg ridiculed both Schmitt and Hegel for hypostasizing a logical necessity into the existence of a secularized Person-God.10 In the same vein, Agamben no longer focuses on who makes the decision, but rather on the creation of a spectral life – a meaning) to a supposedly determinate mourning (the death of a family member or, most iconically, the sovereign)11.

a “constitutive” and a “constituted” force or power.

Importantly the “I can,” of which Agamben says it might be the “hardest and bitterest experience possible,” emerges precisely here, as the example of Akhmatova amply demonstrates.

The “I can” and Agamben’s “potentiality” set out to think this unthinkable.

As Agamben will say in , we can call this force sovereignty even before splitting it up into what to him – following Walter Benjamin – are its elements, i.e.The contraction of sovereignty at the most radical level exercises, in other words, a kind of appellation (or subjectivation).Thus the collapse of the distinction collapses into an appellation effective in – in this case a literally exemplary case for Agamben – Anna Akhmatova.We use cookies to make interactions with our website easy and meaningful, to better understand the use of our services, and to tailor advertising.For further information, including about cookie settings, please read our Cookie Policy .It emerges in a situation, which, in the language of another book by the same author, can be called a “state of exception.” This, we might recall, is a state in which the two elements of sovereignty located by Agamben in ” – i.e., an invasion, a public upraising, etc.– had befallen the state, became the term to designate a death in the family, most importantly the death of the body of the law, the emperor.But what interests us here most is the conflation of the two aspects of sovereignty and its effects: “But when they [, F.E.] tend to coincide in a single person, when the state of exception, in which they are bound and blurred together, becomes the rule, then the juridico-political system transforms itself into a killing machine.”6However, even when the aspects or elements of power become indistinguishable, this does not eradicate the fact that “sovereignty is always double because Being, as potentiality, suspends itself, maintaining itself in a relation of ban (or abandonment) with itself in order to realize itself as absolute actuality (which thus presupposes nothing other than its own potentiality).”7Before going further into the analysis of the last of these couplets, or rather, its own exception, we can hold fast to the fact that what is established here is a parallelism between the Roman legal distinctions and the Greek philosophical ones, that is, that the distinction (and its collapse) between “.” While realizing this, we can bear in mind that this parallelism of Greek ontology and Roman legal thought has (joined by Abrahamic monotheism) another long history related to the question of sovereignty, namely that of the medieval distinction between the .So Agamben wants to extricate the ghostly reality as real reality, one might say, of sovereignty, which is accessible as and in what he calls experience or a specific kind of experience.The reference to topology is more than a hint here; he points towards the “experience” of a structural effect, of an appellation of sovereignty and vice versa, of sovereignty as this structural effect.


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