Agonal sovereignty: Rethinking war and politics with Schmitt, Arendt and Foucault

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (7):775-793 (2011)
The notion of biopolitical sovereignty and the theory of the state of exception are perspectives derived from Carl Schmitt’s thought and Michel Foucault’s writings that have been popularized by critical political theorists like Giorgio Agamben and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri of late. This article argues that these perspectives are not sufficient analytical points of departure for a critique of the contemporary politics of terror, violence and war marked by a growing global exploitation of bodies, tightened management of life, and endless and unpredictable abusive force. To better capture the singularity of our present condition of violence, war and terror, a supplementation of Schmitt’s and Foucault’s approaches by way of Hannah Arendt’s language of political action and agonistic engagement is useful. By bringing Arendt’s language of political agony to bear on contemporary biopolitical debates and discourses, we wish to revisit common practices of war and terror as matters of ‘agonal sovereignty’. ‘Agonal sovereignty’ allows us to peer into the ‘abyss of total violence’ that manifests itself after sovereign decisionism and biopolitical modalities of power have taken over the everyday conduct of political affairs
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453711410030
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,781
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Perpetual War, or 'War and War Again': Schmitt, Foucault, Fascism.Mark Neocleous - 1996 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 22 (2):47-66.
The Katechon in the Age of Biopolitical Nihilism.Sergei Prozorov - 2012 - Continental Philosophy Review 45 (4):483-503.
The Absence of Evidence is Not the Evidence of Absence.Devin Zane Shaw - 2006 - Radical Philosophy Today 2006:123-138.
Foucault, Politics, and Violence.Johanna Oksala - 2012 - Northwestern University Press.
Locke's Militant Liberalism: A Reply to Carl Schmitt's State of Exception.Vicente Medina - 2002 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 19 (4):345 - 365.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
73 ( #74,757 of 2,199,753 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #149,569 of 2,199,753 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature