Alternative Political and Legal Theory Discussion Group
After the success of our first inaugural meeting, we are proud to announce that the now newly dubbed Alternative Political and Legal Theory Discussion Group is returning with another incredible session of debate, discussion, and insight. Developing on the themes and ideas we identified in our reading of Schmitt’s Political Theology, we now turn to another thinker who also considered the relationship between sovereignty, power, and violence, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, and his 1995 work, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life.
Agamben is a complex and rich political theorist who mixed traditional theories of sovereignty with insights derived from the work of French postmodernists such as Michel Foucault. Homo Sacer is a particularly interesting and challenging work that weaves together ancient history, philosophy, and the concept of biopolitics in an attempt to explain the fundamental power sovereignty gives the states to determine the conditions of who lives, and who dies. Like Schmitt before him, Agamben challenges us to look beyond the often superficially positive gloss put on state power and to grapple with the stark and often troubling implications of how sovereignty is actually wielded in practice.
Our second meeting will thus focus on reading and discussing Homo Sacer, but limiting ourselves to considering only Part 1: The Logic of Sovereignty. The paper is freely available from the University's Library or can be found online. We will be hosting the event in Seminar Room G at 2pm in the Manor Road Building on the 25th of January 2024. As usual everyone who is interested is welcome to come along and any questions about the event can be directed to either of the co-convenors: Dr Dominik Krell or Dr Joseph Patrick McAulay.