On people and lemmings

On people and lemmings

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Giorgio Agamben, one of the leading figures in philosophy and political theory, collected his thoughts on politics, democracy and the epidemic in this book. In these precise, sometimes very short texts, the author tries to reflect on the ethical and political consequences of the pandemic and to define the transformation of political paradigms in Western democracies. He wonders how it is possible that, in exchange for biological security and health, the model of bourgeois democracies with clearly defined rights, parliaments and constitutions could give way to a new despotism in which citizens seemed to accept unprecedented restrictions on freedom.
Agamben calls this new management mechanism, which results from the combination of fear for the preservation of health and state power, „biological security“, and considers it the most effective of all those that Western history has known so far. The author concludes that, when it comes to health threats, people are ready to accept unimaginable restrictions on freedoms, which they did not accept during the two world wars nor under totalitarian dictatorships.

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Giorgio Agamben (b. 1942) is one of the leading figures in philosophy and political theory. His unique readings of literature, literary theory, continental philosophy, political thought, religious studies, and art have made him one of the most innovative thinkers of our time.

Agamben was educated in law and philosophy at the University of Rome, where he wrote an unpublished doctoral thesis on the political thought of Simone Weil. As a post-doctoral scholar in Freiburg (1966–1968), he participated in Martin Heidegger’s seminars on Hegel and Heraclitus and was later a fellow at the Warburg Institute, University of London, from 1974 to 1975. Agamben then began teaching and – over the course of the next four decades – taught at the University of Macerata, the University of Verona, the Collège Internationale de Paris, the Università della Svizzera Italiana, the Università Iuav di Venezia, the New School in New York, and The European Graduate School / EGS, where he holds the Baruch Spinoza Chair.

Since the 1980s, much of this philosopher's work can be read as a movement towards the Homo sacer project, beginning with the book Homo sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1995). The paper deals with questions raised by numerous theorists from the twentieth century, primarily Michel Foucault, and builds on them. In short, the project is an answer to the questions of totalitarianism and biopolitics. Some of his prominent works are: State of Exception – Homo Sacer II.1 Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, Homo Sacer III, NuditàIdea della prosa, ProfanazioniIl tempo che resta: un commento alla Lettera ai Romani and Autoritratto nello studio.

  • ISBN: 978-953-369-029-2
  • Dimensions: 125x200 mm
  • Number of pages: 136
  • Cover: paperback
  • Year of the edition: 2023
  • Original title: A che punto siamo? L'epidemia come politica
  • Original language: Italian
  • Translation: Hana Klak Ustolin