The Problem of Civil War In Agamben's Thought

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    Abstract

    This essay departs from the largely obscure theme of civil war in Agamben’s Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life to elucidate a fundamental aporia of his early political thought inherited from the work of Carl Schmitt. It begins with an analysis of the topology of the exception, as the inclusion of civil war within the sovereign order – a conceptual move which forecloses the possibility of political contestation. This analysis permits an interrogation and critique of Agamben’s controversial claim regarding the inevitable shipwreck of the revolutions of the twentieth century. This is followed by an exploration of Agamben’s failed attempts to move past this aporia via the strategy of exodus. Finally, the political impasse identified by Agamben is revealed to be a conceptual limitation, rather than a practical and political aporia, thus recovering the possibility of contesting or refusing the state
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSemikolon (Aarhus C)
    Volume15
    Issue number27
    Pages (from-to)61-68
    ISSN1600-8529
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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