Giulio Pignatti

This article aims to expose and analyse the structure of sovereignty and its intertwining with the biopolitical question in Giorgio Agamben’s philosophy. In particular, two works are taken into account: Homo sacer. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita (1995) and Stato di eccezione (2003). The first part of the article examines the apparatus of the state of exception, through which the law has a hold on the “bare life”. Biopolitics in Agamben means that the zoé has always been implicated (initially only through the figure of the exceptio) in the political order. In the contemporary age, this “secret tie” emerges more and more, and therefore the state of exception tends to become the rule. In the following paragraph, a concrete historical-political example of this process is provided, following an article of current events written by Agamben himself. Lastly, in the final paragraph, an attempt is made to criticise an aspect of Agamben’s theory: the idea is that the philosopher presents a “metaphysical” structure, considered in a-historical and abstract terms. In this regard the possibility of explaining the emergence of the biopolitical “secret tie” in historical terms is suggested, anchoring this structure to nihilism, the major philosophical and cultural revolution that characterises the twentieth century.

Agamben, Homo Sacer e l’emersione del «vincolo segreto» biopolitico nell’età contemporanea
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