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Sovereignty and Its Other

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 dejustifications can take place only 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.
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A novel critique of sovereignty and an original philosophical theory of democratic practice

Table of Contents

Preface Preamble, or Power and Its Relations 1. Judgment and Justification Justification or Judgment? Sovereign Discomfort: The Immediacy of Justification Dejustification, or the Historicization of the Trinity of Justification Democratic Judgment, or the Exigency of Participation An Other Narrative: On Method 2. The Vicissitude of Participation: On Ancient Sovereignty War and the State: On the Foundation and Perpetuation of the Polis in Thucydides Self-sufficiency: Pericles's "Funeral Oration" "Invincible Eros" in Sophocles's Antigone: For the Love of Democracy Universal Agape in Christian Sovereignty: Augustine's City of God 3.The Propinquity of Nature: Absolute Sovereignty The Subject of Psychology and the Law: Machiavelli and Bodin Fear Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Hobbes's Artificialities There Must Be Madmen... The Absoluteness of the Sovereign in the Leviathan Melancholia as Dejustification: Hamlet's Anti-absolutism 4. Revolution and the Power of Living: Popular Sovereignty "The Sovereign Is Always What It Should Be": Rousseau's Perpetual Revolution The Other of Obedience: Spinoza's Dejustification of Sovereignty The Regime of Broken Promises: The Possibility of Democracy The Paroxysm of the Aleatory: Kleist's Michael Kohlhaas 5. Democracy and Its Other: Biopolitical Sovereignty Normalizing the Exception The Unsavables: Marx's Wager Acts of Democracy: The Primacy of the Effect in Foucault's Theory of Power The Unexceptional: Coetzee's Michael K. and Resistance Epilogue: A Relational Ontology of the Political Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Dimitris Vardoulakis is Associate Professor and deputy chair of philosophy at Western Sydney University.


"This book moves easily across various disciplines - philosophy, political science, theology, and literature - while illustrating certain key points with cases drawn from recent events." Jonathan Strauss, Miami University

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