Why Agamben? -- Key ideas -- Language and the negativity of being -- Infancy and archaeological method -- Potentiality and the task of the coming philosophy -- Politics : bare life and sovereign power -- The homeland of gesture : art and cinema -- The laboratory of literature -- Bearing witness and messianic time -- After Agamben.
Immunity was an institution of Roman and Frankish public law that conferred exemption from various kinds of state obligations. In Roman law, immunity might be granted to an individual, group, or community by the public authority, whether the Roman state itself or one of its constituent self-regulating bodies. It was not an institution with a fixed content; terms varied according to the discretion and powers of the grantor and the system of obligations from which relief was sought. Exemption might be (...) for a limited duration and was always liable to be revoked, especially by imperial authorities, a circumstance that makes it difficult to evaluate the role and extent of immunities in the late empire. Immunities conferred by the emperors are mentioned quite frequently in the legal sources of the fourth and fifth centuries in reference to exemptions from taxation and other public burdens. These imperial grants are generally regarded as the forerunners of Merovingian concessions. (shrink)
Merovingian sources from the sixth to the eighth centuries mention royal officials called comites and grafiones, who exercise important administrative, judicial, and military functions within the Frankish kingdom. Though scholarship may have sometimes exaggerated the pivotal role within the Frankish constitution of these counts — to use a comprehensive term for the comes and grafio — and is presently debating the nature of comital authority, the office of count in the administration of the Merovingian kings, and in the constitutional framework (...) of the Carolingian empire and its successor states, remains fundamental to our understanding of the course of medieval constitutional history. (shrink)