Agamben’s Concept of Homo Sacer

I first learned of political philosopher Giorgio Agamben earlier this year via this long review article by Adam Kotsko in the Los Angeles Review of Books.  Since then, I’ve not exactly been a diligent student of his, but Kotsko’s discussion of Agamben’s book The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life, struck me as having resonances with Foucault’s notion of heterotopia which, as the tens of readers of this blog may recall, has considerable importance for my book project.  My long-time Internet friend Kári was kind enough to send me a copy of that book when he learned of my interest in Agamben, and he also has the useful habit of posting things about Agamben on his Facebook feed from time to time.

Anyway, speaking of Facebook, this morning the video below popped up as a Suggested Post; it’s an 8-minute condensed presentation of Agamben’s central idea, the Homo Sacer, or “sacred man,” and its gradual loss as monarchies have evolved into democracies (and totalitarian states) and biology has become the chief determinant of the individual’s value in society.  If any of this sounds the least bit interesting to you, I encourage you to watch this.

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