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1. HOMO SACER: A POLITICAL HERO Giorgio Agamben's critical analysis of biopolitics, a politics for which power 'confronts pure biological life without any mediation', (1) famously revolves around the notion of homo sacer. This notion is derived from an enigmatic figure of Roman law that, for Agamben, embodies both 'the originary "political" relation' (2) of the West and an 'essential function' in modern and contemporary politics. (3) In being the 'damned' [sacer] who may be killed and yet not sacrificed--the one who may be killed with impunity by any man, and yet not sacrificed to the gods--the sacred man represents a limit concept. In other words, the life of homo sacer, that is 'bare life', is excepted from both human jurisdiction--since in his case the application of the law on homicide is suspended--and divine law--since his killing cannot be regarded as a ritual purification. (4) However, this double exclusion of homo sacer is clearly at the same time a double capture of his bare life, absolutely exposed to violence and death, in the juridical order. (5) As Agamben writes, 'homo sacer belongs to God in the form of unsacrificeability and is included in the community in the form of being able to be killed'. (6) For this reason, the structure of sacratio should be connected with that of sovereignty, or sovereign exception, on which the juridico-institutional foundations of modern and contemporary Western politics allegedly rely. Like sacratio, the sovereign exception founds itself on an inclusive exclusion. Indeed, the sovereign paradoxically lies, at the same time, 'outside and inside the juridical order'. (7) Just as in the case of homo sacer, the law applies to the sovereign in no longer applying to him: it is by means of its power of imposing death with impunity, and not through its ability to sanction a transgression, that the sovereign exception constitutes the originary form of law over life. From this Agamben can therefore conclude that:

Religie en spiritualiteit
1 januari
Ashton and Rafferty

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