Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 821
Sovereignty/Agamben: Agamben places his concept of sovereignty between Michel Foucault's classical theory of sovereignty and his analysis of power.
Agamben's thesis: there is a hidden core of sovereign power (1) between the juridical-institutional model and the biopolitical model of power. See Life/Agamben.
The relationship between these two models has for Agamben the form of an exception.
Brocker I 822
Paradox of Sovereignty/Agamben: (here Agamben refers to Carl Schmitt's theory of sovereignty): "The sovereign who has the legal power to abolish the validity of the law sits legally outside the law". (2)
Brocker I 823
Sovereignty concerns the relationship between the legal and the factual. Life can be included in the law "only by the condition of its inclusive exclusion, only in the exceptio". (3) The threshold where life is both outside and inside the legal order, and this threshold is the place of sovereignty". (4)
Brocker I 826
Def Sovereign/Agamben: the "sovereign is the one to whom all people are potentially homines sacri;
Def homo sacer/Agamben: sacer is the one to whom all people act as sovereigns. (5)
Sovereign Power/Agamben: is a "structural analogy" between sovereign exception (see Terminology/Agamben) and "sacratio": Sovereign and "homo sacer" stand as symmetrical figures at the outermost borders of the political order.


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.
2. Ibid. p. 25
3. Ibid. p. 37
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid. p. 94

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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