Sovereignty, Violence and the State of Exception

  • Damian Cox
  • Michael Levine
  • Saul Newman


So far we have considered a number of dimensions to what we have seen as a new political paradigm that is emerging with the ‘war on terror’. The first of these has been the politics of security — that is, the overwhelming obsession with security that has come to dominate our societies. As we have shown, however, not only does the deliberate vagueness and permeability of idea of ‘security’ lead to greater insecurity — in both real and psychological terms — it also seriously undermines democratic politics by restricting spaces for autonomy, freedom and political agency. The second of these dimensions has been the resurgence — or at least a re-articulation — of religious fundamentalism and racial intolerance, not only in the Islamic world, but also here in our supposedly secular West. Thus, it also poses a threat to liberal democratic politics, which relies upon a clear separation between the political and the religious. The third element of this paradigm has been the cynical manipulation of the truth — or downright lying — that has come to be a feature of contemporary political life. This lack of accountability — and, more worryingly, people’s apparent complacency in the face of the lies and distortions of their political leaders — also suggests a profound debilitation of democratic politics.


Terrorist Attack Liberal Democracy Legal Order Sovereign State State Sovereignty 
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Copyright information

© Damian Cox, Michael Levine and Saul Newman 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damian Cox
    • 1
  • Michael Levine
    • 2
  • Saul Newman
    • 3
  1. 1.Bond UniversityAustralia
  2. 2.University of Western AustraliaAustralia
  3. 3.Goldsmiths — University of LondonUK

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