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State of Exception

State of Exception

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State of Exception

valoraciones:
3/5 (49 valoraciones)
Longitud:
96 página
Publicado:
Jul 1, 2008
ISBN:
9780226009261
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Two months after the attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration, in the midst of what it perceived to be a state of emergency, authorized the indefinite detention of noncitizens suspected of terrorist activities and their subsequent trials by a military commission. Here, distinguished Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben uses such circumstances to argue that this unusual extension of power, or "state of exception," has historically been an underexamined and powerful strategy that has the potential to transform democracies into totalitarian states.

The sequel to Agamben's Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, State of Exception is the first book to theorize the state of exception in historical and philosophical context. In Agamben's view, the majority of legal scholars and policymakers in Europe as well as the United States have wrongly rejected the necessity of such a theory, claiming instead that the state of exception is a pragmatic question. Agamben argues here that the state of exception, which was meant to be a provisional measure, became in the course of the twentieth century a normal paradigm of government. Writing nothing less than the history of the state of exception in its various national contexts throughout Western Europe and the United States, Agamben uses the work of Carl Schmitt as a foil for his reflections as well as that of Derrida, Benjamin, and Arendt.

In this highly topical book, Agamben ultimately arrives at original ideas about the future of democracy and casts a new light on the hidden relationship that ties law to violence.
Publicado:
Jul 1, 2008
ISBN:
9780226009261
Formato:
Libro

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  • (4/5)
    This book is essential reading for anyone interested in modern politics and, more parochially, anyone interested in the legacy of Carl Schmitt's thought. Agamben traces, relatively briefly but nonetheless expertly, the history of the (mostly legal but also philosophical) treatment of the problem of the state of exception. Part of his thesis is that this "treatment" has more often than not consisted in a determined effort to avoid and paper over the difficulties presented by this curious and situation in which the disturbingly problematic relation between authority and power, between life and law, is revealed as essential to law and politics in all forms. Several times throughout the book Agamben pronounces authoritatively on various philological matters concerning ancient legal texts, as well as debates over Schmitt-Benjamin interpretation, the validity of which I am wholly unqualified to evaluate, but which I found convincing nevertheless. The book occasionally veers too far into Benjamin-ian stylistic territory for my tastes, especially towards the closing paragraphs in which Agamben indulges in some speculative and barely comprehensible musings reminiscent of Benjamin's "Critique of Violence." It is entirely unclear to me, for example, what Agamben means by a pure form of law that neither commands nor prohibits, and how this would differ at all from how he, earlier in the book, conceives of pure language that would only communicate itself, its communicability.