chapter  8
20 Pages

Jessica Whyte (2013), "'The King Reigns but He Doesn't Govern": Thinking Sovereignty and Government with Agamben, Foucault and Rousseau', in Tom Frost (ed.), Giorgio Agamben: Legal, Political and Philosophical Perspectives, London: Routledge, pp. 143-61

In 2011, the imposition of an unelected banker as the Prime Minister of Greece, the 'birthplace of democracy', led to mass protests and forms of withdrawal that led one commentator to warn that Greece was 'rapidly becoming ungovernable'.l The same year Giorgio Agamben's The Kingdom and the Glory, which sets out to uncover the theological sources of what he terms the 'current triumph of economy and government over every other aspect of sociallife', appeared in English translation.2 This was the year that then-Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou surprised even his own party by delivering a rousing speech in which he announced that he would put austerity measures to the people, in a referendum that was widely interpreted as a vote on Greece's continued participation in the Euro. Arguing that citizens are the source of Greece's strength, Papandreou framed his decision as a 'supreme act of democracy and of patriotism'.3 Expressing his faith in the people, he vowed: 'we believe in democratic participation. We're not afraid of it'.4 Papandreou may not have been afraid, but faced with the prospect of a 'no' vote, financial markets 'panicked' and he quickly put away his grand speeches, cancelled the referendum, and announced that the country would instead be handed over to an unelected technocrat, Lucas Papademos.