Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 821
Life/Agamben: Agamben's concept of "naked life" begins with the ancient Greek distinction between "zoe" and "bios":
zoe/Aristotle: a life qualified for politics
bios/Aristotle: a naturally unqualified life, which is thus excluded from politics.
Naked Life/Agamben: this term is caught between Foucault's concept of "biopolitics" (Foucault, Der Wille zum Wissen, 1977) and Hannah Arendt's concept of homo laborans (H. Arendt, Vita Aktiva oder vom tätigen Leben, 1960). Biological life is thus increasingly moving into the centre of the political stage. (1) See State/Agamben.
The form that "naked life" takes in politics is that of the "homo sacer" ((s) of the "holy man").
Brocker I 827
Life/AgambenVsAristotle: contrary to the classic Aristotelian separation of "zōḗ" and "bíos", which also returns in a neo-aristotelian way in Arendt's distinction between the social and political spheres, for Agamben naked life has always and exclusively been understandable as political life. See Biopolitics/Agamben.
Agamben: Thesis: Every life, even if it is completely unqualified, naked and exposed, forms the original starting point of every policy, also and especially of democratic politics under the sign of human rights.


1.Giorgio Agamben, Homo sacer. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita, Torino 1995. Dt.: Giorgio Agamben, Homo sacer – Die souveräne Macht und das nackte Leben, Frankfurt/M. 2002, p. 13.


Maria Muhle, „Giorgio Agamben, Homo sacer – Die souveräne Macht und das nackte Leben“, in: Manfred Brocker (Ed.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Agamben I
Giorgio Agamben
Homo sacer – Die souveräne Macht und das nackte Leben Frankfurt 2002

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-12-16
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