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Notes from the Introduction of Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life by Giorgio Agamben

Gloss:

“The Foucauldian thesis will then have to be corrected or, at least, completed, in the sense that what characterizes modern politics is not so much the inclusion of zoe in the polis—which is, in itself, absolutely ancient—nor simply the fact that life as such becomes a principle object of the projections and calculations of State power. Instead the decisive fact is that, together with the process by which the exception everywhere becomes the rule, the realm of bare life—which is originally situated at the margins of the political order—gradually begins to coincide with the political realm, and exclusion and inclusion, outside and inside, bios and zoe, right and fact, enter into a zone of irreducible indistinction. At once excluding bare life from and capturing it within the political order, the state of exception actually constituted, in its very separateness, the hidden foundation on which the entire political system rested.” (pg. 9)

Table of oppositions and associations of terms:

In this non-comprehensive table, the terms are listed in their original oppositions and associations, acknowledging that many of Agamben’s conclusions involve the merger and indistinctness of these oppositions.

zoe bios
Zen – simple natural life, “life as such” 

Bare life

phone/voice

excluded, (and included through exclusion) from sovereignty

homo sacer

can be killed, yet not sacrificed

Eu zen –good life 

Forms of life

Logos/language

Included in sovereignty

Polis –political

“politically qualified life”

specific to humanity

Reading Notes:

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