agamben state of exception summary

In effect, Agamben is Rather, it first presents Agamben’s theory of the state of exception (Chapters 1, 2 and 4) and then presents his genealogical investigation of it which traces the phenomenon from its origins in the Roman Republic through to the present day (Chapters 3, 5 and 6). Chapter 1 “The State of Exception as a Paradigm of Government,” begins  with the observation that public law lacks an adequate theory of the state of exception (1). Unless the President is able to subvert this process as well with the state of exception, the electorate may abandon the President in favor of a completely different candidate. Giorgio Agamben provides a thorough historical and legal contextualization of the state of exception, defining its critical nature and development. 3) The attempt to ensnare life, a defining characteristic of the juridico-biopolitical-machine, is bound up with a counter-movement (pure means) the objective of which is to forge the conditions of possibility for a realm of human activity that is totally external to the law. Hence, a double paradigm, which marks the field of law with an essential ambiguity: on the one hand, a normative tendency in the strict sense, which aims at crystalizing itself in a rigid system of norms whose connection to life is, however, problematic if not impossible (the perfect state of law, in which everything is regulated by norms); and, on the other hand, an anomic tendency that leads to the state of exception or the idea of the sovereign as living law, in which a force-of-law that is without norms acts as the pure inclusion of life (73). Agamben explores how the state of exception, building from Schmitt as the suspension of law for the preservation of the juridical order, produces and is indeed predicated on the blurring of or the indistinction between legal and illegal, public and private, state and law, war and peace, potestas and auctoritas, law and violence, life and norm, criminal and combatant, the political and the juridical (etc. It attempts to de-legitimize law’s reign over life by exposing its secret relation to violence (87). Because the sovereign decision concerns the suspension of the norm, it functions to chain the state of exception to the juridical order by constituting the sovereign in position outside of the normally valid juridical order to which it belongs by virtue of its authority to decide on the state of exception5 (35). Besides functioning to legitimize the autonomous moment of the decision, the trial also serves to construct a referential relationship between the law and reality which in turn “is guaranteed by institutional power” (40). Agamben casts Schmitt’s theories of the state of exception and sovereignty as a response to Benjamin’s pure violence. It is not the suspension of law but an extrajudicial state where Presidential power works with and above the current judicial system (Chapter 1). The first frames the phenomenon as a juridical phenomenon and thus argues that it ought to be regulated through law. How do governments use it? For Schmitt, pure violence is impossible since the purpose of the sovereign decision is to subsume pure violence under the juridical order through the state of exception12 13 (54). Required fields are marked *, You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

, Posted November 10, 2014 by kt2g in category, Book 2, The Republic (Justice in the State and the Individual), Karl Marx versus Thomas Hobbes: A Deconstruction of the Opposition Between Ideal and Nonideal Theory. Auctorita is the anomic or “metajuridical” whereas potestas is the normative juridical process. Agamben deftly considers the historical and philosophical implications of this power, offering a brilliant consideration of ’life’ and its tense relation to normativity. For now it is enough to consider the distinction between norm and application. Are Proposals For A World Republic Defensible? In Chapter 3, “Iustitium”, Agamben examines the “authentic, but more obscure, genealogical paradigm” of the modern state of exception [Ausnahmezustand] in Roman law: the iustitium (48). In instances of national crisis, such as natural disasters … Hence, “if we wanted at all costs to give a name to a human action performed under the conditions of anomie, we might say that he who acts during the neither executes nor transgresses the law, but inexecutes [inesegue] it. Western judicial order can be describes as a duality between auctoritas and potestas. In Chapter 4, “Gigantomachy Concerning a Void,” Agamben definitely states what is at stake in Schmitt’s theories on the state of exception and sovereign power: a sphere of action entirely removed from the law. The state of exception “defines a special condition in which the juridical order is actually suspended due to an emergency or a serious crisis threatening the state. Given the highly bureaucratic nature of any Western political system, Presidential decrees will unavoidablyreach resistance within the system. Abraham Lincoln (20), Franklin D. Roosevelt (21-22), and George W. Bush (3, 22) all serve as case studies for this state of exception and its gradual temporal expansion. The identification between sovereign and law represents, that is, the first attempt to assert anomie of the sovereign and, at the same time, his essential link to the juridical order. In both cases, the conflict seems to concern an empty space: on the one hand, anomie, juridical vacuum, and, on the other, pure being devoid of any determination or real predicate. Agamben’s account treats sovereignty as a primary or original aspect of social life, not a secondary or derivative aspect. Since this outcome is unpredictable, it is therefore undecideable whether necessity is the foundation of law, or the foundation of law’s undoing4. As a result, authority appears bound to Augustus. In certain instances the norm’s application seems to flow effortlessly from the norm (e.g. What now takes its place are civil war and revolutionary violence, that is, a human action that has shed [deposto] every relation to law” (59). Quite pointedly (for it touches upon post 9/11 politics), a state of exception, which is homo sacer, gives force to sovereignty: after Carl Schmitt, whose work is also analysed in his more recent work, State of Exception (2005), Agamben says that the one is sovereign who can determine the state of exception. The concept of biopolitics informs many of his writings. It defines a special condition in which the juridical order is actually suspended due to an emergency or a serious crisis threatening the state. The state of exception is an anomic space in which what is at stake is a force of law without law (which should therefore be written: force-of-law).6 Such a force of law, in which potentiality and act are radically separated, is certainly something like a mystical element, or rather a fictio by means of which law seeks to annex anomie to itself (38-9). The following summary is not faithful to the chronological order of the book. Thomas’s assertion regarding the sovereign’s power to grant dispensation from the law in times of emergency, for example, illustrates how a judgement concerning the existence of a state of necessity functions to legitimize the sovereign’s decision to suspend the juridical order as means to overcome the emergency. It is a hybrid of rule of law and fact where they become indistinguishable. Agamben, Giorgio. Pp. Turning to the 13 January 27 BCE edict wherein Augustus defined himself as auctor of the highest standing and declared his intention to restore the republican constitution, Agamben explains precisely how Augustus “surpassed all in authority”. This argument is advanced through a reconstruction of the debate between Benjamin and Schmitt over the relationship of anomic violence to the juridical order9. In order to clarify the meaning of this relationship, Agamben first turns to the sphere of private law where the authority is the property of the the auctor who intervenes in order to confer legal validity31 on to the act of a subject that has power but lacks the capacity to create a legally valid act32 (76). Since the time of the Roman princeps, Agamben argues, modern scholars have fictitiously theorized authority as a characteristic which “inheres immediately in the living person of the sovereign” (83-4). Giorgio Agamben provides a thorough historical and legal contextualization of the state of exception, defining its critical nature and development. Agamben hypothesizes that law that exists in this new historical epoch, is a law that lacks force and/or application23. “Because it brings about a standstill and suspension of the entire juridical order” (47), the state of exception is best understood, as a “kenomatic state, an emptiness and standstill of the law” (48). Additionally, the President and his political party ultimately must answer to the electorate. ↩ 3. Here, Augustus stands as as the “auctor [or guarantor] of the rights rendered to the people and the Senate” (82). Finally, Agamben points to the aporias that  arises out of the attempt to define necessity as an objective situation (29). In Chapter 6, “Auctoritas and Potestas”, Agamben refines his theory of the state of exception through a critical analysis of the relation between auctoritas29 (authority) and potestas30 (power) in the Roman Republic and Empire. Let’s consider the example of how the law, which is an abstraction much like the norm, comes to refer to the empirical world and acquires it legitimacy. Reflections on Thomas Aquinas’ “Treatise on Law”: What is the law? We must attain a concept of history that accords with this fact. But, as long as the iustitium lasts, they will be absolutely undecidable, and the definition of their nature–whether executive or transgressive and, in the extreme case, whether human, bestial, or divine–will lie beyond the sphere of law” (50). “One of the essential characteristics of the state of exception-the provisional abolition of the distinction among legislative, executive, and judicial powers-here shows its tendency to become a lasting practice of government.” ― Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception 2 likes ). In Chapter 5, “Feast, Mourning and Anomie”, Agamben analyzes the shift in the meaning of  the term iustitium after the birth of the Roman Empire where it became associated with the time of institutionalized chaos between the death of an emperor and the inauguration of a successor (65-66). LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers Writing of the Nazi State, Agamben argues that a transition has occurred, that the concentration camp system of 20 th century totalitarianism is now the product of … The foundation of this senatus consultum, Agamben contends, was a decree proclaiming an emergency situation caused by foreign war, insurrection, or civil war (i.e., tumultus) which often lead to the declaration of a suspension of law as such (i.e., iustitium) and thus produced a “juridical void”  (41-2). Agamben argues that “necessity” is the result of the law’s loss of reference to reality (chapter 1) and that the concrete suspension of the sphere of the norm’s application creates the conditions where the norm can once again apply7.  In this way, the state of exception can be understood as the strategy through which law comes to “refer” to concrete reality8. The sovereign’s inability to decide, excludes the state of exception the from the realm of sovereign jurisdiction where it no longer appears, as Schmitt would have it, “at the threshold that guarantees the articulation between inside and outside, or between anomie and juridical context, by virtue of a law that is in force in its suspension” (57). His actions, in this sense, are mere facts, the appraisal of which, once the iustitium is expired, will depend on the circumstances. Agamben also traces this relation of exclusion and supplementation between authority and power to another institution, the hostis iudicatio, which likewise reveals figure of authority’s specific function: suspending the law where it looses it grasp on reality.  In exceptional situations, the Senate had the authority to declare a Roman citizen that threatened the security of the Republic “public enemy” (i.e., hostis). Analyzing the legal and political theory that has given rise to the state of exception, Agamben delivers a highly detailed description of this legal concept. ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees” in CIA Custody, February 2007, pp. Yet, both frameworks are actually quite similar. In either case, the principle of necessity reveals the its revolutionary character of the emergency. The state of exception is a legal technical term which refers to the “suspension of the juridical order” undertaken to protect the it from internal and/or external threats (4). This particular example, Agamben argues, reveals the essence of authority: it is a “power [potenza] that can at once ‘grant legitimacy’ and suspend law34” (80). Translated by Kevin Attell. The dialectic between authority and power will continue to function insofar as authority and power “remain correlated yet conceptually, temporally, and subjectively distinct (as in republican Rome’s contrast between the Senate and the people [...])” (86).  However, as our time reveals, a potentially lethal situation can arise, however, where power and authority merge in one person and/or institution37. In this context, auctor takes on a precise legal meaning in relation to the transfer of the res republica from his hands to those of the people and the senate. The state of exception is the expansion of the executive power to the point where presidential decrees have the force of law, often invoked during “states of siege” or a “state of war.” Through this expansion of executive power, the separation of powers no longer constrains the executive branch. But what, precisely constitutes the “purity” of “pure violence” [reine Gewalt] ? Nevertheless, on June 24, 1968, the 'great coalition' of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats passed a law for the amendment of the constitution (Gesetz zur Ergänzung des Grundgesetzes) that reintroduced the state of exception (defined as the 'state of internal necessity,' innere Notstand). Extended Summary of Agamben’s State of Exception (draft) In State of Exception (2005), Agamben advances three theses. In 2005, the leftist Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben further secured Schmitt’s position as the accidental prophet of the post-9/11 age in his book State of Exception, which turned to the Bush administration as an example of how Schmitt’s exception would inevitably expand to swallow law whole. One norm of Canadian public law has is that the law should be interpreted in a manner that respects rights. Response: In State of Exception (2005), Agamben advances three theses. From its origins in Roman law, Agamben traces the evolution of the state of exception through two political scholars, Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. The clearest explication of authority, Agamben argues, is located in the passage35 of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti where “Augustus claims authority as the foundation of his status as princeps36” (81). This suspension of the status of Roman citizen (i.e., ius civis) was potentially devastating for the hostis since it amounted to the radical deprivation of their legal status such that s/he could be stripped of property or life (80). Giorgio Agamben provides a thorough historical and legal contextualization of the state of exception, defining its critical nature and development. “Upon learning of a situation that endangered the Republic, the Senate would issue a senatus consultum ultimum [final decree of the senate] by which it called upon the consuls24 [...] and even, in extreme cases, all citizens, to take whatever measures they considered necessary for the salvation of the state” (41). For the majority of readers, finding the book at a library and reading the first chapter as well as the last few pages will be more than enough. Drawing on the writings of Thomas (among others), Agamben observes the dialectical relation between necessity and exception. This arbitrary, and indeed sovereign decision, is in turn premised on the particular interpretation given to it by the adjudicator in light of the unique circumstances of the case and their own individual biases and beliefs about law and world. In this sense, the “real state of exception19”, that anomic zone where “violence without any juridical form acts” unmasks the attempt of “state power to annex anomie through the state of exception” as a “ fictio iuris par excellence, which claims to maintain the law in its very suspension as force of law. “In truth, the state of exception is neither external nor internal to the juridical order, and the problem of defining it concerns precisely a threshold, or a zone of indifference, where inside and outside do not exclude each other but rather blur with each other. 1) The modern state of exception, a legal institution rooted in the democratic-revolutionary tradition, has gradually become the paradigmatic form of government in the twentieth century. Giorgio Agamben, “The state of exception provoked by an unmotivated emergency” This is a translation of an article that first appeared as “Lo stato d’eccezione provocato da un’emergenza immotivata,” in il manifesto , 26 Feb, 2020. With biopolitics, human life becomes the target of the organizational and institutional power of the State (Foucault, 143). Law seems able to subsist only by capturing anomie, just as language can subsist only by grasping the nonlinguistic. State of Exception. This modern theory of authority, Agamben thus claims, entails a forceful affirmation of “law’s claim that it coincides at an eminent point with life”.  In this way, this theory converges with “the tradition of juridical thought that saw law as ultimately identical with–or immediately articulated to–life” wherein life-itself grounds the validity of the norm as well as its content (85). The purity of pure violence, in other words, is is a product of its evaluation of mythico-juridical violence which as “a means for making law never deposes its own relation with law and thus instantiates law as power21 (Macht)” (Benjamin 1921, 198/248) (From Agamben, 61). In Chapter 2, “Force of Law Without Law”, Agamben critically appraises Schmitt’s theory theory of state of exception/sovereignty in order to develop his conception of the state of exception as an ambiguous zone of indistinction connected to the juridical order. In this sense, the “perfect legal action” consists of a duality of subjects/elements–that is, authority and power–which are conceptually distinct yet comprise a binary system that functions to convey judicial validity or legitimacy onto human action (78). A theory of the state of exception needs to be articulated. Giorgio Agamben: The coronaviris and the state of exception Posted on March 3, 2020 by Julius Gavroche Before the frenzied, irrational and totally unjustified emergency measures taken for a supposed epidemic due to the coronavirus, it is necessary to start with the declarations of the CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche), according to which “there is no epidemic of Sars-CoV2 in Italy “. Bottom-line: However, although the “original nexus between tumultus and iustitium is still present”, during the Roman Empire, the state of exception and anomie are embodied in the sovereign “who begins to free himself from all subordination to the law and assert himself as legis solutus [unbound by the laws]” (69). Everything happens as if both law and logos needed an anomic (or alogical) zone of suspension in order to ground their reference to the world of life. In such extreme situations where the norm is in force but not applied, and acts that lack the value of law acquire their force “the force of law”, those decrees that executive power is authorized to issue in exceptional situations which possess the force of law: Floats as an indeterminate element that can be claimed both by the state of authority (which acts as a commissarial dictatorship) and by a revolutionary organization (which acts as a sovereign dictatorship). 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