Agamben's "What is an Apparatus?"

Posted by on November 28th, 2009
Stored in Erkan's readings

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I have meaning to read Giorgio Agamben for a long while. Prof. Agamben has become a trendy personality in philosophical circles and I was curious about him, naturally. and I admit I am ashamed, I should have read him before. Anyway, I had bought Homo sacer among some other of his books but did not have time to start. Recently, I got his essayistic “What Is an Apparatus?” and Other Essays and actually read it. It is an 80-page book with three essays. He has a style very easy to read. And what is more he writes about apparatus, contemporary and friendship all of which consists major scholarly themes to follow for me. Some may know my probably most successful publication ever done is about the idea of Assemblage (“This article shows how, in recent works of cultural analysis, the concept of ‘assemblage‘ has been been derived from key sources of theory and put to work to provide a structure-like surrogate to express certain prominent values of a assemblage………”) co-authored with George E. Marcus. And the idea of assemblage is directly related to Foucault’s Apparatus that Prof. Agamben focuses on.Anthropos today: Reflections on modern equipment is recent treatment of how Foucauldian concepts of apparatus and assemblage interplay.
Similary, the notion of contemporary is a hot topic in anthropological circles at least. Prof. Rabinow has been working on it for a while: Marking Time: on the anthropology of the contemporary

Well, don’t expect any scholarly discussions about the recent literature. Prof. Agamben does not care or just ignores all that new stuff. He goes back to Foucauldian or Ancient Greek texts and discusses in an essayistic tone and without making a difference between apparatus and assemblage as Foucault himself did, I could not know how this can be helpful at all. Honestly, discussion itself is not exciting, too. Sometimes, some big philosophers go back to an ancient text and discusses to vehemently that we actually get something new. But not in this book… I still plan to read his major books. I take this essayistic book as an exception…

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