[SydPhil] UNSW seminar, Tuesday: Daniel McLoughlin, "From Sovereignty to Government: on Giorgio Agamben¹s The Kingdom and the Glory"

Joanne Faulkner j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au
Thu Aug 29 11:15:04 AEST 2013

Date:               Tuesday 1 September
Time:              1 p.m.
Venue:           Morven Brown 310, University of NSW (map reference C20: (1.7MB)<http://www.facilities.unsw.edu.au/Maps/pdf/kensington.pdf>)

Dr Daniel McLoughlin (Law, UNSW)

>From Sovereignty to Government: on Giorgio Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory

The analysis of sovereignty and the state of exception developed by Giorgio Agamben in Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life was profoundly influential for critical theory as it grappled with issues of as security, war and state violence in the wake of September 11 2001.  Agamben has, however, been criticised (particularly by scholars influenced by Marx and Foucault) for fetishising law and violence at the expense of analysing the economic and governmental forms of power that dominate contemporary capitalist societies.  In the recently translated The Kingdom and the Glory, Agamben turns his attention to economy and government and reaches the conclusion that “the real problem, the central mystery of politics is not sovereignty, but government; it is not God, but the angel; it is not the king, but ministry; it is not the law, but the police - that is to say, the governmental machine that they form and support.”  This paper asks whether and to what extent this thesis is consistent with his earlier analysis of the political in terms of sovereignty.  I argue that, while Agamben’s account of the ‘governmental machine’ is a decisive (and much needed) development of his political ontology, it is not a retreat from or break with his earlier thought, but has evolved out this work on the state of exception.   I conclude by considering the implications of this analysis for thinking the political in light of the security concerns that dominated the early years of the new millennium, and the current global crisis of capital accumulation.

Daniel Mcloughlin is Vice-Chancellor's Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales. He is a legal theorist working in the critical and continental traditions of thought, and has published on sovereignty, political ontology, government, and political crises, with a particular emphasis on the work of Giorgio Agamben and Carl Schmitt. He is currently completing a book manuscript on Agamben's legal and political thought.

Dr Joanne Faulkner, j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au<mailto:j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au>
School of Humanities and Languages

Dr Joanne Faulkner
ARC DECRA Research Fellow
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Room 338, Morven Brown Building
University of New South Wales
Kensington, NSW 2052

j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au<mailto:j.faulkner at unsw.edu.au>
+61 2 9385 2287

Co-Government/Institutional Representative, Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy: http://www.ascp.org.au<http://www.ascp.org.au/>

Ordinary Member of Council, Australasian Association of Philosophy: http://aap.org.au<http://aap.org.au/>/

Branch Vice-President, UNSW Branch of the NTEU, National Tertiary Education Industry Union: http://www.nteu.edu.au<http://www.nteu.edu.au/>
NTEU Office Tel: +61 2 9385 2479, email: nteu at unsw.edu.au<mailto:nteu at unsw.edu.au>

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