Potentiality, Sovereignty and Bare Life: A critical reading of Giorgio Agamben

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This article presents a critical account of Agamben’s understanding of the logic of sovereignty and of the notion bare life, particularly Agamben’s approach to the paradox of sovereignty and its relation to Aristotle’s metaphysical category of po- tentiality. With regards to bare life, it brings together an analysis of the figure of the homo sacer with an account of Agamben’s use of paradigms as methodological tools. The first part of the paper argues that Agamben ontologises sovereignty by dramatising the paradox of its structure as im-potentiality. The second part claims that even though an account of Agamben’s methodology serves to respond to the different critiques that his notion of bare life has raised, Agamben’s notions of sov- ereignty and of bare life ultimately rely on Schmitt’s decisionism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages20
JournalIdeas y Valores
Issue number156
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


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