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3rd February, 2022

The Remains of Power: A Chronotopic Reading of Sovereignty


Event Details

3rd February, 2022
18:00 - 19:00
Room JG2001 , Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE
and Online

A Research Seminar with Antonio Cerella (Senior Lecturer in Social and Political Theory, Kingston University and author of Genealogies of Political Modernity, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)

It has become a commonplace to represent sovereignty as an almost divine and transcendent power, a concept which has its roots in the ancient Roman world. In the first of four volumes of The History of Sexuality, for example, Michel Foucault argues that the power of the modern sovereign derives “no doubt from the ancient patria potestas that granted the father of the Roman family the right to ‘dispose’ of the life of his children and his slaves.” Following this analytical path, Giorgio Agamben goes so far as to state that the political capture of life represents the original paradigm of the entire history of Western civilization. This ontological and Western-centric reading of sovereignty has had enormous influence on the social and human sciences. Taking its cue from Ernst Kantorowicz’s insights into the “duality” of power, this talk problematizes Agamben’s reading by exploring an alternative paradigm, which conceives sovereignty as a “chronotopic apparatus” and ordering ritual.

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