Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 825
Human/Agamben: here the "homo sacer" (see also Life/Agamben, State/Agamben): in Roman archaic law, the holiness of a person does not promote his protection, but on the contrary authorizes his unpunished killing. Agamben contrasts this with the prohibition of sacrifice and thinks of it together: that is what makes homo sacer so specific. (1) This sheds light on "an original political structure located in a zone ahead of the distinction between the sacred and the profane, religious and political". (2)
The figure of the "homo sacer" contradicts precisely the transgression from the profane into the sacred, insofar as exclusion from human jurisprudence does not open a transition into the divine sphere. The "homo sacer" becomes the original figure of life taken under sovereign spell, the sacred life is put into unity with the naked life, and its creation is "the original achievement of sovereignty". (3) See Sovereignty/Agamben.
Holiness/Agamben: the contemporary talk of the "holiness of life" thus originally means the exact opposite, namely the complete subjugation of life to sovereign power as an exception. (4) (See Terminology/Agamben, Life/Agamben, Biopolitics/Agamben).


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. 83.
2. Ibid. p. 84.
3. Ibid. p. 93
4. Ibid.


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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