The God Who Deconstructs Himself: Sovereignty and Subjectivity between Freud, Bataille, and Derrida

The God Who Deconstructs Himself: Sovereignty and Subjectivity between Freud, Bataille, and Derrida

The God Who Deconstructs Himself: Sovereignty and Subjectivity between Freud, Bataille, and Derrida

The God Who Deconstructs Himself: Sovereignty and Subjectivity between Freud, Bataille, and Derrida

Excerpt

alles ist weniger, als
es ist,
alles ist mehr.

Celan

Would it now be possible to elaborate a thinking of the sovereign that was not at the same time a theory of the subject? Perhaps not. Certainly recent landmark discussions see sovereignty as inevitably entailing specific and contingent modes of subjectivity. Michel Foucault argued that the development of biopower as a counterweight to the traditional logic of sovereignty must be seen in terms of a radical reconfiguration of the subject. Giorgio Agamben's attempt to advance the Foucauldean legacy in Homo Sacer identifies the figure of bare life—the individual who can be killed without being sacrificed—as the key object of sovereignty's exercise of its exceptionality. Jacques Derrida's approach to the issue of sovereignty also addresses the issue of subjectivity by way of a complex discussion of the relationship between sovereignty and ipseity. According to Derrida, sovereignty relies for its authority on a certain openness on the unconditional. As a logic of excess, this openness both licenses sovereignty and threatens it. At the same time, sovereignty guarantees and explains the stability of ipseity, while always pressing to remake it. Taken all in all, sovereignty both defines and ruins both itself and ipseity.

The crucial moment in Derrida's discussion of sovereignty comes soon after the opening of the second chapter of the second part of Rogues: Two . . .

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