Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 828
Human Rights/Agamben: Democracy (see Totalitarianism/Agamben) does not abolish sacred life in such a way (as one should assume), but "fragments it, scattering it in every single body to be used in political conflicts". (1) (See also Life/Agamben, Biopolitics/Agamben).
Arendt had already investigated and uncovered this logic in her book on totalitarianism about the Déclaration des Droits de l'homme et du citoyen of 1789. (2) Starting from the paradox that the very person - the stateless refugee who "was only human" - who actually had to make use of human rights had no right to these rights, the failure of these rights becomes clear, which apply de facto exclusively as the rights of the citizen. Thus the title of the declaration already takes account of the impossibility of granting rights to humans as such, to the naked life, the "homo sacer", which are not secured by the nation state.


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. 132.
2. Hannah Arendt, Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft. Antisemitismus, Imperialismus, totale Herrschaft, München/Zürich 1998.


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 2018-12-19
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