Dean, Mitchell, Governmentality Meets Theology: ‘The King Reigns, but He Does Not Govern’, Theory, Culture and Society, Volume 29, Issue 3, May 2012, Pages 145-158
Review of The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government by Giorgio Agamben, trans. Lorenzo Chiesa (with Matteo Mandarini) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011
While this ‘extraordinary’ book appears as an intermezzo within the Homo Sacer series (Negri, 2008), it supports two fundamental theses with its own philological, epigraphic, liturgical and religious-historical research, and a close reading of figures such as Ernst Kantorowicz and Marcel Mauss. These theses concern political power first as an articulation of sovereign reign and economic government and, secondly, as constituted by acclamations and glorification. These can be approached theoretically through its author’s engagement with Michel Foucault’s genealogy of governmentality and with the Erik Peterson/Carl Schmitt debate on the closure of political theology. Agamben’s reformulation of power and his derivation of liberal governmentality from the theological oikonomia prove convincing. A renewed analytics of power and politics of resistance should be possible, however, without recourse to a project seeking to deactivate all profane powers including those of public bureaucracies.
acclamation; glory; government; power; reign; sovereignty