Giorgio Agamben 's Homo Sacer : Sovereign Power And Bare Life
836 WordsMar 22, 20164 Pages
Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life is a very complex text presented in three detailed sections. The first section is an analysis of sovereignty, introducing it through Schmitt’s definition of sovereignty as being the one who decides on the exception. The second section is a survey of the idea of Homo Sacer: the person who cannot be sacrificed, but who can be killed. The final section then illustrates the role of the Auschwitz camp, which is known for its brutal murders and for Agamben, as he claims in his final “Threshold” section, replaces the city as the totalizing, “fundamental bio political paradigm of the West” (181).
He begins the first section by reviewing in Aristotle the difference between the two Greek meanings of the word “life”. The first is zoe, the fact of living common to all living beings (animal, men, and gods) which we are born into. The second is bios, the form or way of living proper to an individual or group which we enter into. He goes on to say that the, “fundamental categorical pair of Western politics is not that of friend/enemy but that of bare life/political existence, zoe/bios, exclusion/inclusion” (8). Thus, this illustrates the necessity of the prerequisite of the excluded zoe in order to obtain the inclusion of the bio.
Through the second section Agamben studies the “Paradox of Sovereignty” which describes the nature of sovereignty to be both inside and outside of juridical law. Furthermore, Agamben relies on Schmitt’s