The appropriation of abandonment: Giorgio Agamben on the state of nature and the political [Book Review]

Continental Philosophy Review 42 (3):327-353 (2009)
The paper addresses Giorgio Agamben’s affirmation of post-sovereign politics by analyzing his critical engagement with the Hobbesian problematic of the state of nature. Radicalizing Carl Schmitt’s criticism of Hobbes, Agamben deconstructs the distinction between the state of nature and the civil order of the Commonwealth by demonstrating the ‘inclusive exclusion’ of the former within the latter in the manner of the state of exception, which functions as a negative foundation of any positive order. Since the state of nature is no longer cast as spatially external and temporally antecedent to the former, it cannot be escaped by the perfection of the legal order, nor can it itself be posited in an essentialist manner as a pre-political site uncontaminated by sovereign violence. While denying any way out of the state of exception, Agamben nonetheless argues for the possibility of its appropriation in the way that dissociates anomie from the locus of sovereignty and reclaims it as an attribute of free social praxis. The paper analyzes three central features of this ‘post-sovereign’ politics and concludes with a discussion of the differences between Schmitt and Agamben with regard to the fate of Hobbes ’s Leviathan in late modern politics
Keywords Agamben  Hobbes  Schmitt  Sovereignty  The political  Anomie
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11007-009-9115-z
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,631
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Thomas Hobbes (2007). Leviathan. In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub.
Giorgio Agamben (2004). State of Exception. University of Chicago Press.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

115 ( #36,180 of 1,938,741 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #70,786 of 1,938,741 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.