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The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) [Kindle Edition]

Giorgio Agamben , Lorenzo Chiesa , Matteo Mandarini
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Why has power in the West assumed the form of an "economy," that is, of a government of men and things? If power is essentially government, why does it need glory, that is, the ceremonial and liturgical apparatus that has always accompanied it?

In the early centuries of the Church, in order to reconcile monotheism with God's threefold nature, the doctrine of Trinity was introduced in the guise of an economy of divine life. It was as if the Trinity amounted to nothing more than a problem of managing and governing the heavenly house and the world. Agamben shows that, when combined with the idea of providence, this theological-economic paradigm unexpectedly lies at the origin of many of the most important categories of modern politics, from the democratic theory of the division of powers to the strategic doctrine of collateral damage, from the invisible hand of Smith's liberalism to ideas of order and security.

But the greatest novelty to emerge from The Kingdom and the Glory is that modern power is not only government but also glory, and that the ceremonial, liturgical, and acclamatory aspects that we have regarded as vestiges of the past actually constitute the basis of Western power. Through a fascinating analysis of liturgical acclamations and ceremonial symbols of power—the throne, the crown, purple cloth, the Fasces, and more—Agamben develops an original genealogy that illuminates the startling function of consent and of the media in modern democracies. With this book, the work begun with Homo Sacer reaches a decisive point, profoundly challenging and renewing our vision of politics.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Giorgio Agamben, an Italian philosopher and political theorist, teaches at the IUAV University in Venice and holds the Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate School. His most recent works available in English translation from Stanford University Press include "What is an Apparatus?" and Other Essays (2009), Nudities (2010), and The Sacrament of Language(2011).

Product Details

  • File Size: 615 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0804760160
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (September 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,470 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to the Trinity: Agamben's Masterpiece October 17, 2011
In his Metaphysics, R. G. Collingwood calls the Trinity the absolute presupposition of the West. In Capital, Karl Marx rails against the dark Trinity of land, labor and capital as a secular displacement of its theological source.
Long out of philosophical fashion, Agamben blends these two insights. He returns to the key of the Trinity to unlock, in the vocabulary of Michel Foucault, current global economic governmentality. That Agamben evokes the Trinity as the origin of the problem is unsurprising but, unlike Foucault, who can see only oppression in the Christian tradition, Agamben opens a speculative window onto the radically liberationist side of the `economic' Trinity. I highly recommend this book, not only as a masterpiece by one of Europe's leading political thinkers, but as an overdue reconsideration of the potentialities of Trinitarian thought, tracing its lineage deep and long in the West.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homo Sacer completed January 21, 2014
This book is an essential complement to Homo Sacer which now, in retrospect, is clearly unfinished business. If Homo Sacer is about sovereign power, then Kingdom and the Glory represents a theory of the full articulation of power due to governance. Power indeed is revealed here as the economic articulation of Sovereignty (common auctoritas) and governance (proper potestas).
The observation that power is split between absolute rule and governmental, popular complicity is not new. But the revelation that all politics is held in the inoperative economy between the two is THE political statement of our age. This is an explosive masterpiece of political philosophy masquerading as work of theological philology. It forms a major part of a trinity of recent works by Agamben which justify all the attention his work. Along with Signature of All Things and Sacrament of Language the Agambenian critique of the metaphysics of difference is complete: power, metaphysics, language. An immense achievement grounded in systematic philosophical deduction and faultless philological induction.
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More About the Author

Giorgio Agamben is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Venice. He is the author of Profanations (2007), Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive (2002), both published by Zone Books, and other books.

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