Agamben's Political Paradigm of the Camp: Its Features and Reasons

Constellations 19 (3):421-434 (2012)
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Abstract
This article gives a critical account of Agamben's contention that the camp is the paradigm of 'bio-politics' in the west. It analyses the deficiencies of this paradigm by means of comparison with other approaches to juridical topics and political theory (e.g., the treatments of the topics of force and state power in liberalism and Foucault). First, I ask about the features Agamben ascribes to the camp space and in what respects they support his contention that the camp has general significance. Second, I question the reasons he gives for his view that the camp situation discloses the general tendencies of legal codes and practices in the West. In particular, I ask whether, as Agamben contends, his approach allows tendencies in the West that would otherwise be obscure to be identifiable, or whether his approach is too speculative to be useful as political theory.
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