Oct 24, 2011

Bare life and animal life

I'm currently reading Agamben's Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life carefully for the first time and I'm having a hard time separating the many thematic strands that comprise such issues as the homo sacer itself, bare life and sovereignty. Let me just also add that I'm also currently reading (i.e. haven't finished) the 1st volume of Derrida's The Beast and the Sovereign and Ludueña-Romandini La comunidad de los espectros: Antropotecnia ("The community of specters: Anthropothecnics"), and both can be said to be responses to Agamben, so they may still hold answers to me.

First, I'm having trouble pinpointing exactly what the homo sacer is. I know it is a life which can be killed with impunity but not sacrificed in a religious rite, what kind of life is that exactly? I guess I'm trying to establish the frame-of-mind/rationalization behind the granting of the homo sacer status, but it's hard. Let's see what I could gather so far: