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Homo Sacer: suwerenna władza i nagie życie (Homo sacer I.)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  2,373 ratings  ·  67 reviews
W swojej najsłynniejszej książce "Homo sacer. Suwerenna władza i nagie życie" Giorgio Agamben wypracował pojęcie "świętego człowieka” (homo sacer), które na trwałe weszło do współczesnego dyskursu filozoficznego. Oznacza ono człowieka, którego można bezkarnie zabić, bez możliwości poświęcenia go na ołtarzu wspólnoty.

Zdaniem Agambena kategoria ta znalazła współcześnie zasto
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published 2008 by Prószyński i S-ka (first published 1994)
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A rather complicated bit of political philosophy with some interesting ideas inside.

The homo sacer of the title refers to an obscure bit of Roman religious law, which stipulates that a person is banned, or excluded, from all society and can be killed by all. The person cannot even be sacrificed for religious reasons. The person is now outside of the protections of the law, even though they are affected by it.

This brings Agamben up to the modern era, where he compares this idea of the homo sacer
Justin Evans
All the best continental philosophy* books display the best and worst things about continental philosophy: they introduce a profoundly useful concept and make a number of interesting but lesser points about the world in general while they do it. They also needlessly confuse the concept itself, display far too much irrelevant learning (of the "I was reading book x while I was writing book y, therefore book x and y are somehow connected" variety), and make statements that are so over-the-top and r ...more
Read a few recommended chapters for my directed studies course. It was a tough read! I will rate the book once I finish reading the rest of it.

After having read a chapter from this previously, I read the whole thing this summer. Agamben is not as subtle as Foucault, but I think he takes the question of biopolitics in the direction it needed to go after Foucault's untimely death. "Bare Life" is such a useful concept. I heard Ewa Ziarek give a talk a few months ago on "bare life" as a form of resistance, and my head is still buzzin' with the after-echos.
Apr 11, 2007 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking to think about politics in a new way
Agamben's claim in this book is that modern political theory (i.e., from Hobbes on forward), is premised on the State of Nature, the War of All Against All. This means that whatever form of government is chosen, it tends invariably towards either anarchy or to the concentration camp. Why? Because the government will be too weak to defend its citizens, and the State of Nature will reassert itself; or, with increased demands for rights on the parts of citizens, the state will need to enact ever mo ...more
Apr 08, 2007 Julianne is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Many interesting insights, but I'm a bit frustrated by methodology: it often feels like he's working on the wrong level of abstraction for the points he's trying to make. There are a lot things I don't understand about this book, some of which are probably the result of mere ignorance (and the fact that I'm only half way through) and some of which seem very hard to imagine an adequate understanding of in any case (for example: an ontology in which potentiality is freed from Being? how would that ...more
Agamben argues that the "bare life" of man under modernity is inherently politicized; it is this notion that allows for the concept of the "rights of man," though these rights are theoretical rather than always in effect. This is because sovereignty is based upon an exception: the sovereign is outside the law, and is always sovereign over another exception which Agamben deems the homo sacer, the life which can be killed (without legal repercussion) but not sacrificed. Homo sacer is included in t ...more
Luis Mella gomez
Sin duda alguna el mejor libro que he leído sobre filosofía política, biopolítica y sobre la cuestión de la comunidad. Son pocos los autores que pueden recosntruir, ponerte a cuestionar todas las cosas que has visto en filosofía política, epistemología... hasta biología. La relación entre la vida al desnudo y su relación casi ambigüa o indistinguible con el soberano es la trama de este libro, si todos somos soberanos por nacimiento, entonces cualquiera de nosotros puede declarar la excepción jur ...more
Jonas Pothelm
As a member of a reading group now reading Agamben, what have I learned?

After the first meeting :

1. 'Homo Sacer: sovereign power and bare life' is part of a cyclus which includes in its inner circle at least 4 parts (Agamben already wrote 3) and with a few satelite writings around. Reflection about Homo Sacer is impossible without noticing the broader cyclus ('Paulus', 'L'Ouvert', ...).

2. Altought Agamben refers often to Foucault, his main iltellectual resources remain Hannah Arendt (and Heidegg
See my review of Roberto Esposito - ibid..note to Agamben - the world is not one big concentration camp..then again, the more I think about it, he's got a point...ignorance is bliss. Subjectivity involves living dependently upon an other - and having one's life determined by conscience, and knowledge...hmm, if this is the criteria for determining if the world is one big Auschwitz then I have to admit he is convincing on that one - but what would a world without conscience look like? And, is that ...more
I like the main argument, but I find the AB-BA (inclusive exclusion, exclusive inclusion; wolf inside a man, man inside a wolf) abstract theoretical discussions a bit off-putting. Please don't make me read Badiou.

Luckily, these arguments are front loaded in the text. Part I is this theoretical framing of the sovereign, mostly vis-à-vis Schmitt and Benjamin. Parts 2 and 3 explain Homo Sacer and the state of exception. Part 2 argument has neat historical examples of living dead (or dead living?) w
Bram Van boxtel
Provocative, frustrating, mind-boggling: Giorgio Agamben's masterpiece connects bare life, political sovereignty , theology and metaphysics. A book the child of Foucault and Arendt might have written, one will not forget soon .
Jacob Lines
I liked State of Exception a lot, so I got Homo Sacer through inter-library loan. I am disappointed that I was disappointed in this book. Most of it was a chore to read, so I didn’t actually read all of it. I plodded through the first third of the first section, then skipped to the section about Homo Sacer. That part was good. Then I had to skim the last sections after Homo Sacer. The sections besides Homo Sacer were too esoteric and dry – too much philosophy without enough story. I guess that i ...more
This work of contemporary philosophy addresses an important and overlooked part of the 20th century's political nature: the intersection of sovereign power and the life of a person. The book is divided into two parts, the first reviewing and theorizing ancient Greek philosophy and Christian theology in terms of the value of life, the second tackling the Nazi rise to power and co-opting of the ability to make decisions about who may live and who may die in the German state. Much of the writing is ...more
Agamben is definitely tough--he's a philosopher writing for other philosophers, and he expects his reader to know the philosophical backgrounds he's responding to. But that being said, his theories in this book are fantastic. Agamben theorizes a new definition of sovereignty, which is the power to create the state of exception. The state of exception seems to be the key idea in this book--it is a condition in which neither judicial human law nor divine religious law protects the subject, meaning ...more
Alexander Panagiotou
It's unsurprising that Homo Sacer is Giorgio Agamben's best known work. As a study into the nature of sovereignty in the modern age - and more! - it's awfully good. Unlike many of Agamben's other works - which are usually essay long reflections on various topics - Homo Sacer is one of his most sustained and penetrating investigations, refusing to let it's target out of sight. Agamben's stated thesis is simple, but it's ramifications are anything but. The basic idea is that sovereign power, the e ...more
Mu-tien Chiou
無法區內內外在的特殊狀況,這裡繼承了Carl Schmitt 對政治就是區分敵我的說法,宣告「例外」的主權政治正好就是達到 herem (the ban)這種突破原始敵我二元定義的特殊狀態。

Emile Durkheim 是傳統聖俗二分的看法,來解釋宗教的神聖是透過分別。但 Agamben指出,神聖不是靠政治語言來說的。政治語言沒有資格講神聖,因為政治能判我「生」,不能取我「命」(life beyond death)。一種超越生死的力量,也超越了政治,因此進入了神聖品質。這才是存在的神聖性所繫之處。

"The sacredness of life, which is invoked today as an absolutely fundamental right in opposition to sovereign power, in fact originally expresses precisely both life's subjection to a power over death and life's irreparable exposure in the rel
I set as goal for myself this year to read the entire Homo Sacer series by Giorgio Agamben (there are seven books in the series so far), either by myself or with others. Homo Sacer, the series, set out to define the foundational/ontological problems of the west and give the investigation a foundation in this book. There is what Agamben refers to as the originary problem of the "sovereign ban", which constitutes law and state power in the west through the sovereign's ability to bring into being a ...more
Law and politics has never before been illuminated in half so sinister a way as Agamben shows us in this tour de force of philosophical inquiry into the role of Western (Aristotelian) government. In order to prove the truth about the nature of 'sovereign power,' Agamben defines for us (or, more accurately, reveals the paradoxes in) the life of the homo sacer, or the sacred man, a figure of Latin law in which they may be killed at any time but their death will represent neither a murder nor a sac ...more
Political Ontology and Bio-Politics: Agamben begins his inquiry into sovereignty in the light of the problematic left to contemporary political ontology via Hobbes, Schmitt, and up to Heidegger (Dasein being that being who's very being is always at stake for that being, and ontological difference), post Heideggerian political thought (Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Derrida) and finally Foucault's bio-politics. While Agamben's criticisms of these thinkers is brief (and somewhat reductive) it does se ...more
Jacques le fataliste et son maître
L’opera di G. Agamben Homo sacer è strutturata nel seguente modo:
1Homo sacer. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita (la presente opera), pubblicato da Einaudi;
2.1 Stato di eccezione , pubblicato da Bollati Boringhieri;
2.2Il regno e la gloria. Per una genealogia teologica dell’economia e del governo, pubblicato da Neri Pozza e ripubblicato da Bollati Boringhieri;
2.2 Stasis. La guerra civile come paradigma politico , pubblicato da Bollati Boringhieri (non so perché sia contrassegnato con
In defining Homo Sacer Agamben runs through the etymological origin of the term both within the studies of Roman law and anthropological findings of Levi-Strauss, Mauss, Durkheim amongst others. According to him, the task of metaphysics par excellence is the politicisation of naked life. His reference to Schmitt is functional to explaining the paradox of sovereignty that lies in the notion of Ausnahme: ‘Sovereign is whoever decides on the state of exception’. According to this, exception is gran ...more
W. C.
Taking up the line of Foucault's work, Agamben tries to make a link between the latter's theories of political techniques and technologies of the self. He does so by locating the truth of our era in the concentration camp. How so? Insofar as political power has been defined in western thinking as that power which decides the law above and beyond the law, what Carl Schmitt called the 'state of exception', mere subjects have no inherent protection against the sovereign. Despite the grand pronounce ...more
I read this for the class at Pitt I'm currently sitting in on, as a follow up to Foucault's History of Sexuality, Vol 1 and Society Must Be Defended. It was an attempt to flesh out the concept of 'biopolitics' but I think the term becomes less distinct when taken up by Agamben. Nevertheless, I think this is a great book, even though I find Agamben's thought a little less compelling than Foucault's, he seamlessly brings together much of the critical impulse of the last century of philosophy and m ...more
Reading this book required me to stop at least once per page to look up a word or concept that he is developing. His occasional lack of explanation for archaic Roman legal terms - that are not going to be in the dictionary - was occasionally frustrating (Thank goodness for google and wikipedia).

After finishing the book I did feel like I had the advantage of a new vocabulary with which to describe developments in modern politics and law. However, I'm confused at whether or not there is a differe
I was introduced to Agamben as a starry-eyed 19 year old just learning about critical theory, and this is my first attempt to read anything by him in ages. I found him to be a still impressive thinker and theorist, but one with a few notable flaws...

The central metaphor of the book is, in my mind, a stretch. Are we REALLY all homo sacer? OK, we do live in a surveillance society these days, and I would agree that this surveillance society does indeed reduce humans to "bare life." But at the same
Michael Mcloughlin
Agamben's "Homo Sacer", which I came across while browsing a bookstore in Lille, goes a long way to answering the question of how states can turn to murder. A pressing problem out our time, and a problem that much occupied me while researching and writing "Last Stop, Paris: the assassination of Mario Bachand and the death of the FLQ" (Toronto: Viking, 1998.) The referenced edition is in French, which, being Latinate, retains much of the elegance of the Italian original. I did find that elegance ...more
The banishment of sacred life is the sovereign nomos that conditions every rule, the originary spatialization that governs and makes possible every localization and every territorialization. And if in modernity life is more and more clearly placed at the center of State politics (which now becomes, in Foucault’s terms, biopolitics), if in our age all citizens can be said, in a specific but extremely real sense, to appear virtually as homines sacri, this is possible only because the relation of b ...more
Thoughtful reimagining of a basic political concept, and thoroughly convincing in its argument. Anyone interested in Foucault's idea of "biopolitics" should read Agamben. That said, the prose is hugely repetitive, to no rhetorical effect (unlike, say, Butler's interpellation through repetition in her Psychic Life of Power ).
Chase marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2015
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Homo Sacer: Agamben against Aristotle 2 4 21 hours, 12 min ago  
Homo Sacer Series 13 28 Mar 28, 2014 10:08PM  
  • Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
  • Lectures at the College de France, 1975-76: Society Must Be Defended
  • Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence
  • The Politics of Aesthetics
  • Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil
  • Difference and Repetition
  • Specters of Marx
  • Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments
  • Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings
  • The Accursed Share 1: Consumption
  • Empire

Other Books in the Series

Homo sacer (9 books)
  • State of Exception
  • The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government
  • The Sacrament of Language: An Archaeology of the Oath
  • Opus Dei: An Archaeology of Duty
  • Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive
  • The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life
  • L’uso dei corpi
  • Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm
State of Exception The Open: Man and Animal Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive The Coming Community Means Without End: Notes on Politics

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