Giorgio Agamben's biopolitical theology

Diametros:96-113 (2009)

Piotr Kozak
Warsaw University
The aim of this paper is to present Giorgio Agamben's biopolitical theory in the context of the relationship between the logic of sovereignty and 'bare life'. The first part of the paper presents the foundations of his political thought and, in connection with Carl Schmitt's idea of sovereignty, considers the problem of defining the category of the state of emergency. According to Agamben the principle of sovereignty is constructed on the integrating exclusion of bare life, which is represented by the homo sacer, as one who may be killed but cannot be sacrificed. This will be the central figure of Agamben's thought and also the topic of the next part of this paper. According to the author of Profanation, the figure of the homo sacer as excluded from both secular and sacred law, reaches its highest form in the Nazi concentration camp, which is the space of legal authority where no law exists. In the last part of the paper we will argue in favor of Agamben, that the camp represents a state of emergency and also constitutes a paradigm of western biopolitics
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