Inoperativity as a form of Refusal: On Bonnie Honig’s Reading of Agamben

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The aim of this article is to follow Honig’s intention of thinking inoperativity as a form of refusal. It demonstrates that Agamben’s inoperativity entails an intensification of use that can circumvent the pitfalls associated with the language of ‘demands,’ or the need to rescue the city as the space of the political par excellence, all while preserving its potential for instituting change. I claim that all destitution entails instituting practices and forms of experimentation that modify the subject, and that, with the help of Agamben, subjects are nothing other than these modifications. The wager of this short intervention, therefore, is that a form of refusal that pays critical attention not only to the act of suspension or negation, but also to the generative force that this suspension inherently entails is attainable, all while circumventing the city as a political space shaped by anti-blackness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalRes Publica: Journal of the History of Political Ideas
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2024


  • Agamben: Inoperativity
  • Bonnie Honig
  • Profanation
  • Refusal
  • Use


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