Thinking critically with Saba Mahmood

Dossier: Saba Mahmood in memoriam

Saba Mahmood made immensely important contributions to the critical understanding of secular power and its operations, without which the field would be significantly impoverished. Tragically cut short by her untimely death, her scholarship offers especially powerful insights into the critical turn in secularism studies: first and foremost that secularism is a modality of governance involved […]

Political theology, religious fundamentalism and modern politics

Political theology, religious fundamentalism and modern politics Marilena chauí In order to define a single and indivisible sovereign political power, Western modernity needed to separate itself from the ecclesiastical power that impeded this unity and indivisibility. Consequently, public expressions of religion were placed under the control of rulers and intimate expressions were relegated to the […]

Globalization?

COMMENTARY Globalization? Simon Bromley , Forecast: global gales ahead.’ Thus were BBC Radio 4 listeners warned by Paul Kennedy of coming storms in the world economy. Their size and vigour, he predicted, would endanger the prosperity, the social contracts, and possibly even the political democracy of the advanced capitalist world. And Kennedy is not alone […]

Friend or enemy? Reading Schmitt politically

Friend or enemy? Reading Schmitt politically Mark Neocleous The debates concerning a ‘crisis’ in social theory in recent years have been partly generated by those socialists for whom old certainties now appear naive and the theoretical foundations of a socialist approach to history and society obliterated. In this context some have looked to new approaches […]

Politics Re-entered: The State in its Place

Politics Re-entered: The State in its Place Tony Skillen Though we cannot turn our backs on it or imagine, or wish, that it will wither away, the idea that the state is by definition the sole locus of politics seems Increasingly archaic. The price of retaining ‘the statist conception of politics’ seems to me that […]

Michel Foucault: Prison Talk

PRISON TaLK: an interview with Miehel Foueault Introduction This interview dates from June 1975 when Michel Foucault published Surveiller et Punir (Surveillance and punishment), subtitled: Naissance ‘de la Prison (Birth of the Prison). This book can be seen as forming a trilogy with Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation (1961) and Birth of the Clinic (1963); each […]

The fate of the body politic

Whatever happened to the idea of the body politic? For those interested in social and political thought this is a pertinent question, since these fields have in recent years become saturated with discussions of the body. The loss of confidence in previously established categories has provoked a widespread return to the body as the basis […]

The exemplary exception: Philosophical and political decisions in Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer

The exemplary exception Philosophical and political decisions in Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer Andrew norris rights. More specifically, the Nazi death camps are not a political aberration, least of all a unique event, but instead the place where politics as the sovereign decision on life most clearly reveals itself: ʻtoday it is not the city but […]

The promise of justice

The promise of justice Howard caygill Breaking the promise of justice is an act peculiarly repugnant to reason. It implies a double betrayal: not only of the promised justice but also of the justice of the promise. Nevertheless, how is it possible to do justice to the promise of justice? Especially when this very promise […]

Sovereign democracy: Dictatorship over capitalism in contemporary Russia

sovereign democracy Dictatorship over capitalism in contemporary Russia Julia svetlichnaja with james heartfield Economists tell us that Russia is on its way to completing the transition to capitalism. The only problem remaining now is a political one – the paradise of a fully fledged ‘free-market’ economy is suspended by the lack of liberal democracy, while, […]