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Law and Critique

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 319–329 | Cite as

Rethinking Agamben: Ontology and the Coming Politics

Abbott, Mathew. 2014. The figure of this world: Agamben and the question of political ontology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Whyte, Jessica. 2013. Catastrophe and Redemption: the political thought of Giorgio Agamben. New York: SUNY Press.
  • Daniel McloughlinEmail author
Review Article

Abstract

Giorgio Agamben’s work has often been criticised for being bleak, pessimistic, and of little use for thinking about political action. This image of Agamben has, however, resulted from a narrow reading of the Homo Sacer project that isolates it from his early thought on language and ontology. This essay draws on new works by Mathew Abbott and Jessica Whyte to explore the ways that Agamben attempts to think the conditions for overcoming the political nihilism of the present. It argues that the two works diverge on the question of where Agamben locates the potential for political transformation, and that this results from their differing approaches to the relationship between ontology and politics.

Keywords

Agamben Benjamin Heidegger Sovereignty Inoperative 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New South Wales Law SchoolSydneyAustralia

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