Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Thomas Lemke offers a critique of Agamben's biopolitics from a Foucaultian perspective. While I agree with the gist of Lemke's criticisms, I still find Agamben's ideas useful in some cases. For example, if one wanted to discuss the problems of Gitmo, the idea of "state of exception" and the reduction to "bare life" would be useful, even though it should be noted that the word of the President of the United States is not immediately law, and the courts have not upheld the interpretation that Gitmo exists outside the law. That President Bush's administration would concoct such an interpretation and materialize it gives weight to Agamben's argument. More broadly, the ubiquitous phenomenon of the refugee camp may be understood as a biopolitical. "The camp," says Agamben, "which is now securely lodged within the city's interior, is the new biopolitical nomos of the planet" (Homo Sacer, p. 176). This is a disturbing fact that needs to be confronted by a mature biopolitics.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:26 PM.


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