Monday, January 21, 2013

Agamben's Homo Sacer Explained in 300 Words.



With a full comprehension of the method firmly in place,(See Agamben's Method Explained here) it is now relatively easy to recast Homo Sacer as exemplary of the indifferential philosophical archaeological method, a method not fully worked through it must be said at the time of the text’s publication.

So first of all we can note how the different elements of that text—homo sacer, sovereign, musselman, camps, Karen Quinlan, the f├╝hrer, maverick doctors and so on—map onto the indifferential method as named paradigms to be found in the text of the wider signatures of Power and Life.

 We can also identify the key suspension in the text, named in the subtitle of the work in fact, sovereign power and bare life, and how sovereignty operates as the condition or common, and bare life the conditioned or proper.

If we now turn attention to the more obscure issue of the signature, two elements can be noted. First that Life is the primary signatory term in play in the text moving from one discursive formation to the next without changing its form or its meaning.

Second that one must now also consider the homo sacer project as a whole extending out from this astonishing source text, and how the signatory term Power is transmitted across these often diverse works and indeed dispersed amongst other signatory elements. Most significant in this regard is the role of oikos in Homo Sacer and its extension into oikonomia in The Kingdom and the Glory.

 Finally, we can name the zoe-bios opposition and the homo sacer judicial exception as moments of arising that reveal our own political formation through an archaeology of its source in ancient political practice.


And that’s it in less than 300 words!
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