Agamben and Politics: A Critical Introduction (Thinking by Sergei Prozorv

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By Sergei Prozorv

Tracing how the good judgment of inoperativity works within the domain names of language, legislations, heritage and humanity, Agamben and Politics systematically introduces the basic suggestions of Agamben's political concept and a significantly translates his insights within the wider context of latest philosophy.

Agamben's commentators and critics are inclined to specialize in his strong critique of the Western political culture within the Homo Sacer sequence. yet this slim concentration serves to vague the general constitution of Agamben's political inspiration, that is neither adverse nor serious yet affirmative. Sergei Prozorov brings out the affirmative temper of Agamben's political inspiration, targeting the concept that of inoperativity, which has been important to Agamben's paintings from his earliest writings.

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140). The purpose of studying without a clue, of reading ancient tomes that no longer mean anything to us, is precisely to remove the burden of their continuing presence and significance from our backs, to free us from the self-slanderous guilt by twisting loose from one’s capture in the apparatuses of law and tradition (see Lewis 2013). : 143) is the sole possibility to regain one’s own health. This is why Agamben concludes his reading of Kafka with the claim that ‘the new advocate’ studies the law ‘only on the condition that it no longer be applied’ (Agamben 2010: 36).

And yet Kafka does not attach to this learning the promises which tradition has attached to the study of the Torah. His assistants are sextons who have lost their house of prayer, his students are pupils who have lost the Holy Writ. Now there is nothing to support them on their ‘untrammelled, happy journey’. (Benjamin 1968: 139; cf. Agamben 2005a: 59–64) Indeed, we do not even know if Bucephalus’s absorption in the pages of the ancient tomes produces any effects of knowledge – probably not, since it is, after all, a horse.

In this manner, the sphere of play is presented by Agamben as ‘the topsyturvy image of the sacred’ (2007a: 77), which ‘frees and distracts humanity from the sphere of the sacred without simply abolishing it’ (2007b: 76). As we have argued with regard to inoperative praxis, play is evidently still a matter of activity and use, yet of a different, non-canonical and non-utilitarian one. : 76) Agamben explicitly links this playful mode of use to Benjamin’s interpretation of Kafka’s Bucephalus the New Attorney, where, as we recall, the law that was studied but not practised was the ‘gate to justice’.

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