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2010 | 3 | 2 | 144-164
Article title

The Hermaphrodite Sovereign: Walter Benjamin, Carl Schmitt, and the Permanent State of Exception

Authors
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
This article re-imagines the textual relationship between Carl Schmitt and Walter Benjamin as one of much greater affinity than has typically been granted to it. This reworking of their textual relationship draws largely from a study of how and in what ways the figure of the sovereign in Walter Benjamin's study of the German Trauerspiel can be read as a response to Carl Schmitt's theory of sovereignty as found in Political Theology. Though the article's narrative trajectory covers a textual relationship, the larger stakes of the work here involve the description of the structure of the state of exception (in particular in its legal, political, and philosophical valences) and its uses and abuses as a tool of sovereign authority, both historically and in contemporary forms. The paper argues that a) functionally and historically a great deal of the truth of the paradoxically riddled structure of sovereign authority can be found in its opposite, namely, the inability to decide on the exception; and b) typologically the sovereign suffers from the tension inherent in a diametrically opposed dual-identity; c) the article also explores from a psychoanalytic perspective the potential space for politics in a world in which law and life have been grafted together in a permanent state of exception.
Publisher
Year
Volume
3
Issue
2
Pages
144-164
Physical description
Dates
published
2010-01-01
online
2011-01-28
Contributors
author
  • Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
References
  • Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.
  • Agamben, Giorgio. State of Exception. Trans. Kevin Attell. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Bataille, Georges. Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985.
  • Benjamin, Walter. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Trans. John Osborne. New York: Verso, 1998.
  • Benjamin, Walter. Gesammelte Schriften, Band 1.1. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974.
  • Benjamin, Walter. Gesammelte Schriften, Band 1.2. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974.
  • Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.
  • Gadamer, Hans Georg. Truth and Method, 2nd revised edition. Trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall. London & New York: Continuum, 2004.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. The Concept of Anxiety. Ed. and Trans. Reidar Thomte, with Albert B. Anderson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.
  • Kordela, A. Kiarina. Surplus: Spinoza, Lacan. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.
  • Lacan, Jacques. The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-55. Trans. Sylvana Tomaselli. New York: Norton, 1988.
  • Mininger, J.D. "Allegories of the Demonic." 514-529. In: Eds. Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Hermann Deuser, and K. Brian Söderquist. Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2007. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2007.
  • Pepper, Thomas Adam. "The Story of I/i." 129-55. In: Eds. Julian Wolfreys and Harun Karim. Glossalalia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003.
  • Schmitt, Carl. Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. Trans. George Schwab. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Taubes, Jacob. The Political Theology of Paul. Eds. Aleida Assmann and Jan Assmann, in conjunction with Horst Folkers, Wolf-Daniel Harwich, and Christoph Schulte. Trans. Dana Hollander. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004.
  • Weber, Samuel. Benjamin's -abilities. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008.
  • Žižek, Slavoj. Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism: Five Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion. London: Verso, 2002.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.doi-10_2478_v10076-010-0014-8
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