Volume 16, Issue 1, Fall 2011
On Giorgio Agamben’s Naked Life
The State of Exception and the Law of the Sovereign
This article attempts to explore why it is that the “state of exception” is so pivotal to Agamben’s analysis of sovereignty and the possibility of a coming community beyond the sovereign state and its power machines. The essay distinguishes between two senses of the state of exception and tries to explain their interconnection. The “zone of indistinction” opens up an irreparable gap between sovereign power and its execution and between “bare life” and citizenship. These are the spaces that both drive and dismantle the apparatus of State power and permit Agamben to open the discussion of a coming community.