Renowned Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben presents his fierce, passionate, and deeply personal commentaries regarding the 2020 health emergency as it played out in Italy and across the world.Alongside and beyond accusations, these texts reflect upon the great transformation affecting Western democracies. In the name of biosecurity and health, the model of bourgeois democracy—together with its rights, institutions, and constitutions—is surrendering everywhere to a new despotism where citizens accept unprecedented limitations to their freedoms.The push to accept this new normal leads to the urgency of the volume’s title: Where Are We Now? For how long will we accept living in a constantly extended state of exception, the end of which remains impossible to see?
Giorgio Agamben is a contemporary Italian philosopher and political theorist whose original works have gained critical acclaim and have been translated into numerous languages. His most recent books are Creation and Anarchy: The Work of Art and the Religion of Capitalism and What Is Real? Agamben is a frequent contributor to numerous international newspapers and other media.
Introduction1. The Invention of an Epidemic2. Contagion3. Clarifications4. Where Are We Now?5. Reflections on the Plague6. The Epidemic Shows That the State of Exception Has Become the Rule7. Social Distancing8. A Question9. Bare Life10. New Reflections11. On Truth and Falsity12. Medicine as Religion13. Biosecurity and Politics14. Polemos Epidemios15. Requiem for the Students16. Two Infamous Terms17. Law and Life18. State of Emergency and State of Exception19. The Face and the Mask20. What Is Fear?21. On the Time to Come
What happens when health replaces salvation, biological life replaces eternal life, and social distancing displaces community? These are theological as well as political questions, and Agamben has correctly brought them to our attention.
An on-the-spot study of the link between power and knowledge.
A fascinating intervention on the encroaching state of biosecurity we are witnessing before our very eyes.
Fear makes thinking harder, yet there is an urgent need to think and to question every aspect of our current situation. The philosopher, which Agamben truly embodies, is a figure that must be heeded.
Agamben's book title emphasizes a vital but all too often unappreciated question. By way of answer, he worries that we are collectively and individually in a very dangerous place that, contrary to popular opinion, has little to do with a virus or pandemic."
Agamben is right that our rulers will use every opportunity to consolidate their power, especially in times of crisis. That coronavirus is being exploited to strengthen mass-surveillance infrastructure is no secret.
Agamben’s work is finding new relevance among those who are beginning to question not only the gravity of the virus but also the legitimacy of state responses to it. Agamben is certainly not a ‘virus denier’. . . but he does question the use of ‘pandemic’ to legitimate a certain shift in governing paradigms that will have far-reaching consequences . . . When sitting on a park bench with a friend is technically a crime, we need a voice like Agamben’s to remind us what we have lost among all the so-called ‘gains.'