Agamben and Colonialism (Critical Connections EUP) by Marcelo Svirsky, Simone Bignall

By Marcelo Svirsky, Simone Bignall

12 new essays comparing Agamben's paintings from a postcolonial viewpoint. Svirsky and Bignall gather prime figures to discover the wealthy philosophical linkages and the political issues shared by way of Agamben and postcolonial theory.Agamben's theories of the 'state of exception' and 'bare lifestyles' are located in serious relation to the lifestyles of those phenomena within the colonial/postcolonial world.

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It marks politics as war rather than peace. 12. Martial law was a frequent manifestation of the ‘exception5 in the colonies. As Hussain (2003) persuasively argues in his excellent analysis, it carried different meanings in Europe and in the colo­ nies. Based on cases from Punjab and St. Thomas, Hussain shows how their use in the colonies were suffused, both in practice and in theory, with racialised definitions and interpretations. 13. Some of Schmitt's students, such as Neuman and Kirshcheimer, criticised the liberal rule from the leftist ranks (Neuman 1987; see Scheuerman 1997).

The Intrigant: Postcommunist Anomie and Baroque Sovereignty Uncanny as this mode of power might appear, its paradigm has actually been developed by an author whose influence on Agamben5s work cannot be overestimated - Walter Benjamin, whose theory of baroque sovereignty resonates strikingly with the postcommunist state of exception. Similarly to the analysis of the logic of bespedel in terms of the suspension of the historical process in the aftermath of the demise of socialism, Benjamin's point of departure in his Origin of German Tragic Drama is the transformation in the perception of history during the Baroque period, whereby the eschatological dimension was blocked and the historical world was perceived as ‘nature deprived of grace5 (Benjamin 2003: 81).

Agamben 2005a: 50) The application of Agamben’s political theory to the postcom­ munist condition yields both theoretical and empirical benefits. On the one hand, as we shall see, the postcommunist experience provides empirical support for many of Agamben’s claims that might appear excessively hyperbolic in contemporary Western contexts (cf. Laclau 2007; Passavant 2007). On the other hand, Agamben’s approach provides the analysis of postcommunism with a theoretical framework adequate for grasping the Russian state of exception other than in the merely negative sense of ‘disor­ der5, ‘instability5 or ‘illegality5, characteristic of Western analyses of postcommunist Russia during the 1990s.

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