Cover of The Power of Life by David Kishik
The Power of Life
Agamben and the Coming Politics
David Kishik


144 pages.
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Hardcover ISBN: 9780804772297
Paperback ISBN: 9780804772303
Ebook ISBN: 9780804778381

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Giorgio Agamben's work develops a new philosophy of life. On its horizon lies the conviction that our form of life can become the guiding and unifying power of the politics to come. Informed by this promise, The Power of Life weaves decisive moments and neglected aspects of Agamben's writings over the past four decades together with the thought of those who influenced him most (including Kafka, Heidegger, Benjamin, Arendt, Deleuze, and Foucault). In addition, the book positions his work in relation to key figures from the history of philosophy (such as Plato, Spinoza, Vico, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Derrida). This approach enables Kishik to offer a vision that ventures beyond Agamben's warning against the power over (bare) life in order to articulate the power of (our form of) life and thus to rethink the biopolitical situation. Following Agamben's prediction that the concept of life will stand at the center of the coming philosophy, Kishik points to some of the most promising directions that this philosophy can take.

About the author

David Kishik is the author of Wittgenstein's Form of Life (2008) and co-translator, with Stefan Pedatella, of Agamben's What Is an Apparatus? (Stanford 2009) and Nudities (Stanford 2010). He is a fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, though he usually lives in New York.

"Through the combination of biographical research and textual analysis of Giorgio Agamben's work a picture emerges of a life infused and transformed by philosophy . . . Kishik's work is an insightful and engaging companion to Agamben's lifework."

—J. Paetkau, Useful Illusions

"An outstanding piece of work."

—Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research

"Combining novel biographical research with lucid textual analysis, Kishik's illuminating The Power of Life shows the reader how Agamben's work can help us to imagine new forms of life and radically transform philosophical thought and practice. His reading of Agamben is precise and informative, and I can think of no better or more reliable guide for working through Agamben's complex writings."

—Matthew Calarco, California State University, Fullerton