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Sovereignty and Its Other

Toward the Dejustification of Violence

Dimitris Vardoulakis

Publication Year: 2013

In this new book, Dimitris Vardoulakis asks how it is possible to think of a politics that is not commensurate with sovereignty. For such a politics, he argues, sovereignty is defined not in terms of the exception but as the different ways in which violence is justified. Vardoulakis shows how it is possible to deconstruct the various justifications of violence. Such de-justifications can only take place by presupposing an other to sovereignty, which Vardoulakis identifies with radical democracy. In doing so, Sovereignty and Its Other puts forward both a novel critique of sovereignty and an original philosophical theory of democratic practice.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-xiv

Th is book was a product of a series of accidents. In 2009 I found myself teaching philosophy at the University of Western Sydney in a major called “History, Politics and Philosophy.” To acknowledge the historical aspect of this major I wanted to design a new course that would look at the development of an idea. But it was not going to be simply a history of ideas. For it...

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PREAMBLE, OR POWER AND ITS RELATIONS

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pp. 1-12

The present examination of sovereignty rests on the axiom that the operation of sovereign power consists in the justification of violence. Justification is determined— for reasons that will become clear later— in terms of a means-and-ends relation.1 Thus the question that structures the present study entails that both a descriptive and a normative extrapolation of sovereignty...

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1 JUDGMENT AND JUSTIFICATION

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pp. 13-40

The distinction between judgment and justification points to the aporetic link between law and justice at the heart of the concept of sovereignty. The reason that a delineation of the relation between law and justice is needed for a conceptualization of sovereignty is that there is no sovereignty without the establishment and exercise of a legal framework. But law for its part...

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2 THE VICISSITUDE OF PARTICIPATION

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pp. 41-76

We saw in the first chapter that the democratic constitution prepared by Solon has a special provision, according to which “whoever when the city was in conflict did not join forces with either party was to be disfranchised and not to be a participant in the polis.” I suggested then that this is not merely a law that forces citizens to participate in the public affairs, but...

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3 THE PROPINQUITY OF NATURE

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pp. 77-109

The importance of Machiavelli’s political theory, observes Michel Foucault, consists in raising the question, “How and under what conditions can a sovereign maintain his power?”1 In the context of the early sixteenth century this question signifies a radical reworking of sovereignty. In ancient sovereignty the end justifies the means. This is reversed in modern sovereignty....

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4 REVOLUTION AND THE POWER OF LIVING

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pp. 110-152

The previous chapter opened with Foucault’s observation that the question animating sovereignty in Machiavelli is, “How and under what conditions can a sovereign maintain his power?” In the evolution from absolute to popular, the question of modern sovereignty remains largely the same. It is still a problem about how the means of power justify its ends. Power is still ...

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5 DEMOCRACY AND ITS OTHER

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pp. 153-199

The transition to biopolitics is characterized by the starting point of justification shift ing to the side of the exception. Sovereignty, as described thus far, exhibits a consistent logic that justifies violence and that relies on the relation between means and ends. At the same time, distinctions between different forms of sovereignty are drawn, depending on whether ...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 200-204

Peter Brook’s assertion that theatre takes place when at least two people encounter one another in an empty space does not describe what is or must be present for theatre to exist. The filling of the empty with two bodies does not function as a predicate. Rather, Brook delineates a complex set of relations. Theatre happens when relations unfold between at least...

NOTES

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pp. 205-246

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 247-264

INDEX

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pp. 265-270

COMMONALITIES

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pp. 271-274


E-ISBN-13: 9780823251377
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823251353
Print-ISBN-10: 0823251357

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Cloth
Series Title: Commonalities (FUP)