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What Is an Apparatus? and Other Essays

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The three essays collected in this book offer a succinct introduction to Agamben's recent work through an investigation of Foucault's notion of the apparatus, a meditation on the intimate link of philosophy to friendship, and a reflection on contemporariness, or the singular relation one may have to one's own time.

"Apparatus" (dispositif in French) is at once a most ubiqui
Paperback, 80 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Stanford University Press (first published 2006)
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Alex Obrigewitsch
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Agamben's etymological journey into and then subsequently rebirthed out of the Foucauldian term dispositif was insightful not only in thinking about Foucault but also on Agamben's own projects - I am thinking primarily of his work in Homo Sacer.
I would, however, seek to propose an inverse relation of sacrality and profanity in the machinic-relations of apparatuses and ourselves, in the process of subjectification and desubjectification. This is pretty poorly stated, but this is not the place to
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book is so short, and its essays such sketches, that its price tag is its most shocking attribute. The three essays range from very good to alright, but none is particularly original. The title essay is a hyper-compression of the author's own The Kingdom and the Glory, and will almost certainly be the most satisfying (both theoretically and programmatically) (for better and worse) thing GA ever pens: lots of cookies here for his anarcho- and Tiqqunist audiences. It is for this reason also t ...more
Casey James
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the most fascinating things I have read in a while. It's short and reasonably accessible too. Agamben makes use of Foucault's definition of the apparatus (or dispotif, the network of institutions, technologies, knowledge systems, etc that exercise power within the social body of our society) and traces its use over time to establish a relationship between modern organization of the world with the early Christian church.

The Holy Trinity (Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost) needed the conc
Kim Moulaire
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Va de paire avec "Le corps utopique, les hétérotopies" de Foucault
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Para Foucault, hay ciertas preposiciones que deben ser tenidas en cuenta al pensar la cuestion del poder.
el poder no es algo que se posea, se adquiera, se tenga, arranque o comparta, algo que se deje escapar o se conserve. El poder se ejerce a partir de innumerables focos, y resulta del juego de relaciones móviles, no fijas, y no igualitarias. No es una esencia, sino que mueve y permuta constantemente.
las relaciones de poder no son externas, con respecto a otro tipo de relaciones (procesos econó
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Testo agilissimo e di facile comprensione che partendo dalle riflessioni di Foucault sul "dispositivo" approda e considerazioni originali.

Per dispositivo si intende una rete di pratiche o/e oggetti. In Foucault tale termine è imparentato con quello di "positività", che legato alla sfera religiosa indica le pratiche rituali che impongono il dogma e i comportamenti giusti da seguire. Quindi il dispositivo implica una serie di pratiche che obbligano a compiere determinate azioni. Il dispositivo è
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
3 essays, of which I was most interested in the first: “What is an Apparatus?”. Agamben creates a categorical criteria between: 1. Living things, and 2. The Apparatuses which seek to control them (with subjectivity in between). Capitalism, he suggests, is the accumulation and proliferation of apparatuses. He also describes the move from discipline to control. In the disciplinary society, apparatuses were used to create subjectivities (the creation of individuals), whereas in the control society, ...more
Miguel Portillo
En este pequeno ensayo, Agamben, discute la genealogia del termino dispositivo mientras discute a Hegel, Heidegger, M. Foucoult, terminando finalemente en sus proias concluciones. El proposito de un dispositivo es permitir el gobierno, en otras palabras, es un instrumento de poder que origina subjetivaciones. Interesantemente, afirma el, en la acutualidad los dispositivos se han multiplicado, y un cambio dramatico a ocurrido, estos, ya no generan subjetivaciones sino desubjetivaciones, dando ori ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Urgente y necesario. Empezemos por las bases para desmontar el sistema.
Matthew Balliro
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Read this on a lazy afternoon, which probably isn't the best way to do it, but it's so short that it lends itself to be read quickly. The title essay isn't necessarily a breakthrough for Agamben, but it's a nice piece that places his criticisms of the society of the spectacle in line with Foucault's idea of an apparatus. He seems to be grasping for credibility, but I also gave his theory tons of credibility, so it's informative but not essential. The second essay, "Friend," is a short, close rea ...more
Sep 21, 2015 marked it as to-read
¿Qué clase de cambio en el funcionamiento de la ideología implica este autoborrado de la ideología? Tomemos como punto de partida el nombre foucaultiano que más o menos encaja en el AIE althusseriano, el de dispositif. Giorgio Agamben ha señalado el vínculo entre el dispositif foucaultiano y la noción de «positividad» del joven Hegel entendida como el sustancial orden social impuesto sobre el sujeto y experimentado por él como una suerte externa, más que una parte orgánica de sí mismo. Como tal, ...more
Oct 16, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a very short collection of essays (so short that I cannot imagine why anyone would buy it). As with my last experience reading Agamben, I don't get what the big deal is. The first essay is a clearly written explanation of the 'apparatus' concept found in Foucault and Deleuze. Pretty interesting and sort of useful... but ultimately just explaining something already developed.

The second essay explores friendship via Aristotle and covers some of the same territory as Derrida. Pretty interes
Brian  Kubarycz
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's about time somebody wrote this very important little essay. No doubt by now many readers have spent years attempting to extrapolate or reconstruction some firm notion of what might be contained in the near-ubiquitous terms. And no doubt those efforts have in many instances been well rewarded, provided a variety of speculative insights and critical applications. Still, it was necessary that someone do the careful philological footwork and establish the actual genealogy of the term, tracing i ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've actually only read the titular essay, but it offers a clear, concise exposition of Foucault's later work on security, and Agamben's elaboration on the nature and function of apparatuses is superb. A must read for anybody with an interest in Foucault and biopolitics more generally. I'm a little bit disappointed with the lack of depth in Agamben's discussion of profanation as a tactic for unmaking apparatuses, but it's a short essay that seems like it's meant to gesture toward future studies, ...more
Chris Schaeffer
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maybe history will wonder why anybody would choose to sit around reading Agamben on New Year's Eve. Maybe history won't be able to furnish an answer. In any case, I did sit down on New Year's Eve, and I did read Agamben, and you know what? I know what an apparatus is now. And honestly, the last essay, 'What is a Contemporary,' is worth the modest price of the whole (very short) book alone. Sheds some much-welcomed light on the messianic model put forth in 'What Time Remains' by way of Benjamin.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nifty little book contains three essays dealing with the Apparatus (from Foucault but in context of Agamben's work in 'Homo Sacer' and 'Kingdom and the Glory'; Friendship (in dialogue with Aristotle and Derrida); and Contemporariness. If found the third essay to be most intriguing, but then again I have an ongoing fascination with the question of temporality. Not a bad place to tread some ground for those new to Agamben.
phagocyte jr
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Contrairement à "La communauté qui vient", ce petit livre est très accessible et dresse une généalogie du dispositif qui peut servir de tremplin à des réflexions plus appliquées. La notion de subjectivation par le dispositif, entre autres, est d'ailleurs très pertinente dans le contexte des new media du 21e siècle. Must read!
Jacob Senholt
En fin introduktion til Agamben og hans forfatterskab. Især essayet 'Hvad er et dispositiv', samt efterskriftet.

Ønsker man for alvor at forstå Agamben kræver det dog en mere indgående læsning af hans værker, eller en mere udførlig introduktion/indføring.

Yuling Chen
Sep 14, 2011 is currently reading it
I need read the French version. Of course, after finishing this one:)
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
"Those who are truly contemporary, who truly belong to their time, are those who neither perfectly coincide with it nor adjust themselves to its demands."
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant short essays. I like how this book is short yet all over the map to cover a large terrain.
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bravo. I found this little book really insightful, esp. the title essay and the last one. I will definitely be reading more Agamben after this.
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Giorgio Agamben is one of the leading figures in Italian philosophy. He is the author of Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life; Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive; Profanations; The Signature of All Things: On Method, and other books.
“In the eyes of authority - and maybe rightly so - nothing looks more like a terrorist than the ordinary man.” 9 likes
“Further expanding the already large class of Foucauldian apparatuses, I shall cal an apparatus literally anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, determine, intercept, model, control , or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions, or discourses of living beings. Not only, therefore, prisons, madhouses, the panopticon, schools, confession, factories, disciplines, juridical measures, and so forth (whose connection with power is in a certain sense evident), but also the pen, writing, literature, philosophy, agriculture, cigarettes, navigation, computers, cellular telephones and - why not - language itself, which is perhaps the most ancient of apparatuses - one in which thousands and thousands of years ago a primitive inadvertently let himself be captured, probably without realizing the consequences that he was about to face.” 2 likes
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