State of Exception
Two months after the attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration, in the midst of what it perceived to be a state of emergency, authorized the indefinite detention of noncitizens suspected of terrorist activities and their subsequent trials by a military commission. Here, distinguished Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben uses such circumstances to argue that this unusual extension of power, or "state of exception," has historically been an underexamined and powerful strategy that has the potential to transform democracies into totalitarian states.
The sequel to Agamben's Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, State of Exception is the first book to theorize the state of exception in historical and philosophical context. In Agamben's view, the majority of legal scholars and policymakers in Europe as well as the United States have wrongly rejected the necessity of such a theory, claiming instead that the state of exception is a pragmatic question. Agamben argues here that the state of exception, which was meant to be a provisional measure, became in the course of the twentieth century a normal paradigm of government. Writing nothing less than the history of the state of exception in its various national contexts throughout Western Europe and the United States, Agamben uses the work of Carl Schmitt as a foil for his reflections as well as that of Derrida, Benjamin, and Arendt.
In this highly topical book, Agamben ultimately arrives at original ideas about the future of democracy and casts a new light on the hidden relationship that ties law to violence.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
according action acts already anomic anomie appears application attempt auctor auctoritas authority become Benjamin citizen civil claimed concept concerning condition considered constitution decision decree defined definition democracy described dictatorship distinction effective elements emergency entire eschatology essay essential established exception executive existence expression extreme fact figure force formula function granted ground hand human immediately imperium institution issue Italy iustitium juridical order jurists language legislative limit living magistrate means measures military mourning nature necessary necessity never nevertheless Nissen norm normal once opposition original paradigm parliament particular passage person political position possible potestas precisely present president principle problem pure question reference regulated relation remains Republic Roman rule Schmitt seeks seems senatus consultum sense shows siege situation sovereign sovereignty space sphere suspension technical term theory tion tradition violence