Martin Paul Eve and Benjamin Bratton on the problem with Agamben

Martin Paul Eve, It’s Time we Dropped Agamben (personal blog)

Benjamin Bratton, Agamben WTF, or How Philosophy Failed the Pandemic (Verso blog)

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4 Responses to Martin Paul Eve and Benjamin Bratton on the problem with Agamben

  1. Xaven Taner says:

    When the crisis finally hit it is remarkable how many supposedly fearless critical thinkers have shown themselves to be lacking in moral fiber. Though in Bratton’s case he was never aligned to Agamben’s tradition and caricatures so-called “negative biopolitics”. There was never such a thing. In Foucault biopower – as with all his descriptions of power in the liberal era – is always generative, both productive and destructive of freedom. Things are more complicated in Agamben as he interprets Biopower as a quasi-metaphysical operator within the history of all Western politics from the beginning. That’s his Heideggerianism, and it does admittedly lead to portentous analyses and positions which are sometimes at odds with the severity of the concrete situation on the ground. But, I would say that pretty much all his predictions for the way in which State would continue to try and govern in this emergency have been correct; from the permanent eradication of in-person learning at Universities, to social distancing becoming an integrated and ongoing part of contemporary political rationality, to the opportunism of State/Big tech alliances. He’s been correct all along, so how can these people criticize him now as he draws – admittedly uncomfortable parallels – between the segregation of one group of people in the 1930s based on biological criteria, and what is happening with the green pass. I can’t help but notice that his most vociferous critics come from demographics who would be least likely to suffer under a such a system of generalized discrimination.

  2. I. Rose says:

    How can you circulate such offensive, mean spirited piece? What happens with respectful difference of opinions? This piece is disgusting — academe is showing it’s real fascist mindset.

    • stuartelden says:

      I teach Agamben. I will probably do so again. But I also indicate criticisms of him. I shared this for the very reason you suggest – difference of opinions. I’m allowing your comment for the same reasons, even though you accuse people of fascism.

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