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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  3,076 Ratings  ·  88 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
Part I of author’s Homo Sacer project.

Text opens with the Aristotelian distinction between bios and zoe: life of the polis, a “particular way of life,” as opposed against life of the oikos, “simple natural life” which is “excluded from the polis (9). (By the time we get to Part IX of this series, The Use of Bodies, it is revealed that the particular way of life is really Plotinus’ eidos zoes, the form of life, a bio-ontology (loc. cit at 218).)

Author cites Foucault for the proposition that “at t
Oct 27, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When my 5 year-old asks why I don't have to eat all my peas, I'm going to tell her that the sovereign exists outside the juridical order.
Aug 12, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
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
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.
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
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
Apr 11, 2007 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 17, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 06, 2011 Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emma Probst
Nov 08, 2016 Emma Probst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who needs Stephen King when you can read Agamben?!? This theoretical work about the political steps it takes to arrive at the horrors of concentration camps, and how it really doesn't take all that much to get to Hitler's Final Solution (The mass extermination of Jews, Gypsies, and others) from where we are right now is truly terrifying! All that it really takes, Agamben suggests, is a system which removes political agency from one group of people, leaving them with only their "bare life" itself ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I did not review this when I read it in 2006, and would now like to add a quote from Slavoj Zizek's Demanding the Impossible (2013): "Today, we are all potentially a Homo Sacer, and the only way to stop actually becoming one is to act preventively."
Bram Van boxtel
Mar 09, 2015 Bram Van boxtel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 .
William West
Best intellectual high I've had in a while. Thanks Esra!
Mu-tien Chiou
Jun 08, 2012 Mu-tien Chiou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: critical-theory
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
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

* Versuch bürgerliche Vernunft (Freiheit, Gleichheit) mit dem Lagerwesen (KZ, Flüchtlingscamps, Guantánamo usw.) in Beziehung zu setzen: Trennung von politischem & nacktem Leben (bios & zoe/Mensch als Tier) seit Aristoteles...

* "Nacktes Leben" wär Resultat biopolitischer Unterwerfung des Lebens unter einen Souverän, durch die 'Logik der Ausnahme' in das politische Feld eingegliedert: Die Ausnahme wär nur das immanente Andere der Regel, oder mit Carl Schmitt: "die Einnahme des Au
May 11, 2014 Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 its target out of sight. Agamben's stated thesis is simple, but its ramifications are anything but. The basic idea is that sovereign power, the exe ...more
W. C.
Jun 27, 2008 W. C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2013 Ira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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;
2.2 Stasis. La guerra civile come paradigma politico , pubblicato da Bollati Boringhieri.
2.3 Il sacramento del linguaggio. Archeologia del giuramento , pubblicato da Laterza;
2.4Il regno e la gloria. Per una genealogia teologica dell’economia e del governo, pubblicato da
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
Feb 09, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 05, 2014 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Homo Sacer: Agamben against Aristotle 2 7 Oct 06, 2015 12:57PM  
Homo Sacer Series 13 33 Mar 28, 2014 10:08PM  
  • Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
  • Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-1976
  • Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence
  • Specters of Marx
  • The Politics of Aesthetics
  • Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil
  • A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
  • The Accursed Share 1: Consumption
  • Empire
  • The Practice of Everyday Life
  • Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments
  • Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays

Other Books in the Series

Homo sacer (9 books)
  • State of Exception
  • Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm
  • The Sacrament of Language: An Archaeology of the Oath
  • The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government
  • Opus Dei: An Archaeology of Duty
  • Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive
  • The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life
  • The Use of Bodies (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics)

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