By Sergei Prozorv
Tracing how the good judgment of inoperativity works within the domain names of language, legislation, background and humanity, Agamben and Politics systematically introduces the basic innovations of Agamben's political idea and a seriously translates his insights within the wider context of up to date philosophy.
Agamben's commentators and critics are likely to specialize in his robust critique of the Western political culture within the Homo Sacer sequence. yet this slender concentration serves to imprecise the general constitution of Agamben's political idea, that's neither unfavourable nor serious yet affirmative. Sergei Prozorov brings out the affirmative temper of Agamben's political concept, concentrating on the concept that of inoperativity, which has been imperative to Agamben's paintings from his earliest writings.
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Extra info for Agamben and Politics: A Critical Introduction (Thinking Politics)
According to Sohn-Rethel, a Neapolitan only begins to really use technical objects at the moment when they no longer function. An intact thing that functions well on its own irritates Neapolitans, so they usually avoid it. And yet, by shoving a piece of wood in the right spot, or by making a slight adjustment with a smack of the hand at the right moment, Neapolitans manage to make their apparatuses work according to their desires. : 99) Thus, rather than subject the inoperative object to the separation into a privileged sphere of pure manifestation, this object must be explored with regard to the new potentialities that the suspension of its canonical functions may open up: A new use of the body is possible only if it wrests the inoperative function from its separation, only if it succeeds in bringing together within a single place and in a single gesture both exercise and inoperativity, economic body and glorious body, function and its suspension.
It is to sanctify this divine inoperativity that the observing Jews abstain from numerous activities on the Sabbath yet, crucially, do not become completely inactive (see Agamben 2011: 239–41). The activities proscribed during the Sabbath are those directed towards production, construction or some positive function. In contrast, festive behaviours, including the consumption of meals, are permitted and encouraged. Yet, what makes the behaviours in question festive is precisely the suspension or neutralisation of any relationship to positive productivity: what is done becomes undone, rendered inoperative, liberated and suspended from its ‘economy’, from the reasons and aims that define it during the weekdays.
Inoperativity is not inert; on the contrary, it allows the very potentiality that has manifested itself in the act to appear. It is not potentiality that is deactivated in inoperativity but only the aims and modalities into which its exercise has been inscribed and separated. And it is this potentiality that can now become the organs of a new possible use. : 102) What sort of new use may the body be subjected to? : 102). Perversion and fetishism as one of its forms are characterised by the logic diametrically opposed to that of glorious ostentation: whereas in the former case an object acquires glory at the cost of losing all its potentiality, in the latter case potentiality is augmented through sacrificing all the insignia of glory (or, perhaps, attaining real glory for the first time): 40 the sabbatical animal: the politics of inoperativity The naked, simple human body is not displaced here into a higher and nobler reality: instead, liberated from the witchcraft that once separated it from itself, it is as if this body were now able to gain access to its own truth for the first time.
Agamben and Politics: A Critical Introduction (Thinking Politics) by Sergei Prozorv