Tragic Extremes. Nietzsche and the Politics of Security

08Apr11

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Giorgio Agamben published an article that took issue with security as the “basic principle” of state politics. Referring to Foucault, Agamben contrasted security and disciplinary power, describing security as a characteristic of liberalism: “Measures of security can only function within a context of freedom of traffic, trade and individual initiative.” He further argued that through the “progressive surrender of traditional tasks of the state, security imposes itself as the basic principle of state activity” becoming the “sole criterion of political legitimation.” Further, Agamben argued that “a state which has security as its only task and source of legitimacy is a fragile organism; it can always be provoked by terrorism to turn itself terroristic.”[2] The progressive erosion of civic rights that occurs when “security imposes itself” indicates a deep-layered incompatibility between democratic legitimacy and security. To this end, Agamben called for a “revision of the concept of security” as a project of immediate importance …

Full article:  CTheory

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