Imperatives Without Imperator

Author: Schütz, Anton

Source: Law and Critique, Volume 20, Number 3, November 2009 , pp. 233-243(11)

Publisher: Springer

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Schmitt’s theologisation of sovereignty has been subjected, 50 years later, to a ‘quarter turn’ by Foucault’s move from issues of domination to issues of government. After a further 30 years, radicalising Foucault, Agamben’s archaeology of economy adds another ‘quarter turn’: the structure that emerges once the old European conjugality of facticity and validity, of praxis and being, emptied of all bonds, links, and loops, gives way to the bare opposition ‘bipolarity’. The new constellation provides the old legal-theoretical (kelsenian) problem of rules unsuspended from a ruler who would authorise them, with a new, unexpected, political content and with a change of epistemic paradigm.

Keywords: Agamben; Benjamin; Bipolarity; Foucault; Kelsen; Luhmann; Oikonomia; Performance; Power; Precariousness; Schmitt

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX, UK, Email:

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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