Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception, University of Chicago Press, 2005

Reviewed by Monis Ahmad

Giorgio Agamben’s seminal work the State of exception is primarily dealing with the nuances of theorising, when it comes to using/enforcing emergency power provisions by modern constitutional states. To quote Agamben, “the unstoppable progression of what has been called a “global civil war,” the state of exception tends increasingly to appear as the dominant paradigm of government in contemporary politics. This transformation of a provisional and exceptional measure into a government technique threatens to radically alter, and at times have altered the structure and meaning of the traditional distinction between constitutional forms”. The state of exception from the outset is a point of indeterminacy between democracy and absolutism. In this context the concept of bio-politics borrowed from Michel Foucault to further expatiate on the control of state when it comes to enforcing and controlling law over its citizens deserves a mention.

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