Radical Philosophy Today

Volume 4, 2006

Philosophy Against Empire

Tzuchien Tho
Pages 139-154

Politics and the Void
Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Žižek on the State of Emergency

Although working through different traditions in European philosophy, the works of Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Žižek have recently focused on issues surrounding the “state of emergency” that characterizes our age of increasing humanitarianism and global “police” actions. By investigating parallels in their separate diagnoses of our current political tendencies, this paper examines their suggestions for a political program of the future. Beginning with the paradoxes revealed in the ontological referent implied in “universal human rights,” this investigation will examine the contemporary failure at developing a viable political ontology and the ensuing theoretical possibilities that these failures open for a politics of the future.