chapter  2
28 Pages

William Watkin (2013), 'Homo Sacer and the Politics of Indifference', in Agamben and Indifference: A Critical Overview, London: Rowman and Littlefield International, pp. 181-207

The "enigmas" that our century has proposed to historical reason and that remain with us ... will be solved only on the terrain - biopoliticson which they were formed. Only within a biopolitical horizon will it be possible to decide whether the categories whose opposition founded modern polities ... and which have been steadily dissolving, to the point of entering today into a real zone of indistinetion - will have to be abandoned or will, instead, eventually regain the meaning lost in that very horizon. 3

In carrying out the metaphysical task that has led it more and more to assume the form of biopolitics, Western politics has not succeeding in constructing the link between zai? and bias, between voice and language, that would have healed the fracture. Bare life remains included in politics in the form of the exception .... How it is possible to "politicize" the "natural sweetness" of zai?? And first of all, does zai? really need to be politicized, or is politics not already contained in zai? as its most precious center? 16

First, however, it will be necessary to ex amine how it was possible for something like a bare life to be conceived within these disciplines, and how the historical development of these very disciplines has brought them to a limit beyond which they cannot venture without risking an unprecedented biopolitical catastrophe. 27

The exception itself is a kind of exclusion. What is excluded from the general rule is an individual case. But the most proper characteristic of the exception is that what is excluded in it is not, on account of being excluded, absolutely without relation to the rule. On the contrary, what is excluded in the exception maintains itself in relation to the rule in the form of the rule's suspension. The rule applies to the exception in no longer applying, in withdrawing from it. The state of exception is thus not the chaos that precedes order but rather the situation that results from its suspension. In this sense the exception is truly, according to its etymological root, taken outside (ex-capere), and not simply excluded.31