On Agamben's Use of Benjamin's “Critique of Violence”

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2008 (145):119-129 (2008)
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Abstract

In Homo Sacer,1 Giorgio Agamben devotes a crucial “threshold” to an extremely compressed reading of Walter Benjamin's “Critique of Violence,”2 a threshold that provides the transition between his elaboration of the logic of sovereignty and his analysis of the concept of homo sacer or “bare life.” That Benjamin's essay should play such a crucial role in Agamben's text is unsurprising. First, Benjamin is arguably the most important authority for Agamben's intellectual project as a whole, rivaled only by Aristotle and Heidegger. More specifically, Agamben's investigations in the eponymous second part of Homo Sacer are prompted by Benjamin's suggestion that it..

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