Agamben lecture: Power and the Glory

Here is the new video going around of Giorgio Agamben’s January 2007 lecture “The Power and the Glory.”

Some analysis here:

If Agamben’s project is indeed a continuation of Foucault’s, then a single glaring difference seems to arise between the two. Let me put it in the most primitive terms possible: So far, Agamben’s story had two protagonists: a powerful sovereign and a powerless naked life. The basic move in the story is the exception or the exclusion: the sovereign decides about the state of exception, and naked life is excluded from the state. This is the synopsis of the Agambenian story of modern politics. Now, when you read Foucault, this basic story is pushed back in time, and you get a very different account of modernity: It is no longer the story of leprosy but the story of the plague. It is not a story about the exclusion, repression, or negation of certain elements of society (naked lives), but a story about the discipline, control, and governance of the whole society in which we live. It is not a story about a single sovereign source of power, but a story about a multiplicity of power relations and their complex economy, which are far from being restricted to the traditional sphere of what we dub “politics.”


One Response

  1. Anyone interested in Agamben’s project should check out the brilliant new concepts in Ben-Aharon’s “the Event in Science, History, Philosophy and Art” where he demonstrates with a tremendous clarity how our unconscious epistemological appropriations can be reversed to reach the impersonal pure life.

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