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by Giorgio Agamben

eBook Means Without End: Notes on Politics (Theory Out Of Bounds) download ISBN: 0816630356
Author: Giorgio Agamben
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; First edition edition (October 13, 2000)
Language: English
ePub: 1490 kb
Fb2: 1136 kb
Rating: 4.4
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Category: Political
Subcategory: Politics and Government

Political Science/Critical Theory

An essential reevaluation of the proper role of politics in contemporary life. A critical rethinking of the categories of politics within a new sociopolitical and historical context, this book builds on the previous work of the distinguished political philosopher Giorgio Agamben to address the status and nature of politics itself. Bringing politics face-to-face with its own failures of consciousness and consequence, Agamben frames his analysis in terms of clear contemporary relevance. He proposes, in his characteristically allusive and intriguing way, a politics of gesture-a politics of means without end.

Among the topics Agamben takes up are the "properly" political paradigms of experience, as well as those generally not viewed as political. He begins by elaborating work on biopower begun by Foucault, returning the natural life of humans to the center of the polis and considering it as the very basis for politics. He then considers subjects such as the state of exception (the temporary suspension of the juridical order); the concentration camp (a zone of indifference between public and private and, at the same time, the secret matrix of the political space in which we live); the refugee, who, breaking the bond between the human and the citizen, moves from marginal status to the center of the crisis of the modern nation-state; and the sphere of pure means or gestures (those gestures that, remaining nothing more than means, liberate themselves from any relation to ends) as the proper sphere of politics. Attentive to the urgent demands of the political moment, as well as to the bankruptcy of political discourse, Agamben's work brings politics back to life, and life back to politics.

Giorgio Agamben teaches philosophy at the Collge International de Philosophie in Paris and at the University of Macerata in Italy. He is the author of Language and Death (1991), Stanzas (1992), and The Coming Community (1993), all published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Vincenzo Binetti is assistant professor of Romance languages and literature at the University of Michigan. Cesare Casarino teaches in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota.

Theory Out of Bounds Series, volume 20

Translation Inquiries: University of Minnesota Press

Comments: (3)
must read
This collection of occasional pieces from the nineteen-nineties can seem slight and derivative by comparison to Agamben's major works of the same decade, coming on the heels of Homo sacer, The Coming Community, The Man Without Content, and The Remaining Time. Means without ends is supercilious about dance, and shows unexpected pietism in the hope for rights "Beyond Human Rights": how meaningful are rights without the conjunction of law and enforcement, i.e. something resembling the state? And there's a puzzling reference to "Beckett's Traum und Nacht" (p. 55). But Means without ends also contains some pearls close to the persistent heart of Giorgio Agamben's uniquely disquieting train of thought: how is it possible to think politics today, in the wake of the Holocaust on the one hand, imposing the heritage of extermination camps that incorporate the state of exception as the essential model of state sovereignty? Agamben's bracing paradoxicalization of politics remains incisively challenging in the "Marginal Notes" on Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle, in the dialogue on "The Face" (whose unidentified interlocutor is presumably Emmanuel Levinas), and in the deeply personal reflections on contemporary politics, especially in Italy. Curiously, the initial words of a passage repeated word-for-word on pages 81 & 95 suggests the absent totalization, and perhaps the subtitle of a major new Agamben in the offing: "an integrated Marxian analysis..."
good book, good seller!