Agamben and Politics: A Critical Introduction (Thinking by Sergei Prozorv

By Sergei Prozorv

Tracing how the common sense of inoperativity works within the domain names of language, legislation, historical past and humanity, Agamben and Politics systematically introduces the elemental techniques of Agamben's political inspiration and a seriously translates his insights within the wider context of up to date philosophy.

Agamben's commentators and critics are inclined to specialise in his robust critique of the Western political culture within the Homo Sacer sequence. yet this slim concentration serves to vague the general constitution of Agamben's political notion, that is neither destructive nor serious yet affirmative. Sergei Prozorov brings out the affirmative temper of Agamben's political idea, targeting the idea that of inoperativity, which has been primary to Agamben's paintings from his earliest writings.

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Drawing on the work of Benveniste and Lévi-Strauss, Agamben distinguishes between ritual, which fixes and structures the chronological time of the calendar through its orderly recurrence, and play, which changes and destroys it (Agamben 2007a: 77). In contrast to a sacred ceremony, which combines the form of the ritual with mythical content, play is constituted by the disjunction between the two, transmitting either the pure form of the ritual (as a ‘game’) or the mere content 42 the sabbatical animal: the politics of inoperativity of the myth (as ‘word play’).

His assistants are sextons who have lost their house of prayer, his students are pupils who have lost the Holy Writ. Now there is nothing to support them on their ‘untrammelled, happy journey’. (Benjamin 1968: 139; cf. Agamben 2005a: 59–64) Indeed, we do not even know if Bucephalus’s absorption in the pages of the ancient tomes produces any effects of knowledge – probably not, since it is, after all, a horse. But how can something be studied in the absence of any support and what could possibly be the purpose of such study?

87–8). This nullification of profanatory potential is exemplified most starkly by the apparatus of pornography. In his brief history of the pornographic genre Agamben notes the tendency towards the transformation of the sexual acts of the models into pure means or ‘gestures’ that no longer communicate any determinate content. : 90). It is precisely this profane mediality that is recuperated by the apparatus of pornography in a representation that may be consumed in masturbatory activity but never brought to use as such (see Prozorov 2011): What it captures is the human capacity to let erotic behaviours idle, to profane them, by detaching them from their immediate ends.

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