Sovereignty and Its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence

Sovereignty and Its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence

Sovereignty and Its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence

Sovereignty and Its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence

Synopsis

In this new book, Dimitris Vardoulakis asks how it is possible to think of a politics that is not commensurate with sovereignty. For such a politics, he argues, sovereignty is defined not in terms of the exception but as the different ways in which violence is justified. Vardoulakis shows how it is possible to deconstruct the various justifications of violence. Such de-justifications can only take place by presupposing an other to sovereignty, which Vardoulakis identifies with radical democracy. In doing so, Sovereignty and Its Other puts forward both a novel critique of sovereignty and an original philosophical theory of democratic practice.

Excerpt

This book was a product of a series of accidents. In 2009 I found myself teaching philosophy at the University of Western Sydney in a major called “History, Politics and Philosophy.” To acknowledge the historical aspect of this major I wanted to design a new course that would look at the development of an idea. But it was not going to be simply a history of ideas. For it so happened that when I arrived at my new department, I had also finished a first, rudimentary draft of a book in which I was trying to investigate the possibility of a “logic” of sovereignty through a series of reflections on the word “stasis.” The manuscript required an introduction to contextualize the concept of sovereignty. Thinking that combining them would be the most expeditious and efficient strategy to dispense of my didactic and authorial duties, I decided to present the introduction as a course. This proved neither expeditious nor efficient for the completion of the manuscript on “stasis,” but by the end of the semester I realized that I had another manuscript in my hands. These serendipitous circumstances determined the topic and the disciplinary balance of Sovereignty and Its Other.

As for the tenor of the book, that was determined by another set of accidents. As a new university that was formed by the amalgamation of a number of higher education institutions, the University of Western Sydney had been seeking rapid expansion of its student population. But this was difficult due to the challenge posed by the fact that the campuses of the amalgamated institutions were located in a large geographical area and were often far apart. To provide lectures to students located in different campuses, a recording system was put in place for students to listen to the lectures if they were unable to travel to be physically present. There were also, of . . .

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