Biopolitics & Probability: Agamben & Kierkegaard

In Marcos Antonio Norris & Colby Dickinson (eds.), Agamben and the Existentialists. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 46-64 (2021)
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Abstract

This project retraces activations of Kierkegaard in the development of polit­ical theology. It suggests alternative modes of states of exception than those attributed to him by Schmitt, Taubes and Agamben. Several Kierkegaardian themes open themselves to 'something like pure potential' in Agamben, namely: living death, animality, criminality, auto-constitution, modification, liturgy, love and certain articulations of improbabilities. Attention is drawn to a modal ontology and auto-constitution at work in Kierkegaard's writings, as well as a complicated and indissociable operation between killing and letting-live in legalist exceptionalism, comparable to similar functions found in Foucault regarding the biopowers and necropolitics of territorial and governmental apparatuses. It closes in consideration of Kierkegaard's critique of enumeration, large numbers, and statistical probability alongside contemporary tele-technoscientific social controls via the online datafication of people by surveillance or platform capitalisms. After Kierkegaard, such apparatuses are perhaps suspect as calculated to tranquilize humanity into more docile subhumans as it fools folk into becoming part of its numbers. (*Accompanying file includes only front matter, abstract, and endnotes*)

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Virgil W. Brower
Charles University, Prague

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