Agamben and the Animal
With The Open: Man and Animal, Giorgio Agamben introduced a new vocabulary and a new conceptuality in the lexicon of many different fields, from animal studies to biopolitics and political philosophy. However, he thereafter abandoned the whole question and left its rich potential largely unexplored. Agamben’s oeuvre, in general, is a rich mine of unthematized issues concerning the animal question and provides important conceptual tools for others to call into question the anthropocentric context within which he himself remains a prisoner. Though never managing to escape the dualisms of the Western tradition, Agamben gestures or points towards their overcoming. This book argues that, though still firmly rooted in the anthropocentrism of the Western tradition, Agamben’s work points beyond the limits that he himself is unable or unwilling to cross. Each chapter, consequently, retraces and highlights the anthropocentric limits that constrain Agamben in some relevant aspects of his philosophy, while simultaneously looking for the capacity for elaboration that lies within them.
Carlo Salzani is a Research Fellow at the Messerli Research Institute of Vienna, Austria, and a faculty member of the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking (PICT). His research interests include biopolitics, posthumanism, and animal studies.
“Agamben has found in Salzani his ideal reader: charitable and sympathetic, but by no means uncritical. Salzani expertly pinpoints in Agamben’s vast and complex oeuvre the precise significance of his discourse on animality while simultaneously navigating a critical path beyond the limits of Agamben’s influential analysis. This book is an essential resource for readers interested in learning more about contemporary Italian philosophy as well as cutting-edge developments in animal studies.”
Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Fullerton
“This important new book is a significant achievement for both political philosophy and animal studies. While others have drawn attention to the place of animals in Agamben’s work, Salzani’s text is perhaps the most comprehensive to date; exploring the many avenues that Agamben’s thought opens for thinking productively and critically about animals, while also drawing attention to the anthropocentric limits of Agamben’s perspectives. The text patiently and carefully examines the extraordinary breadth of Agamben’s work, as well as that of his interlocutors and commentators, providing an impressive overview that will be an incredible resource for many years to come.”
The University of Sydney
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