Michel Foucault begins to play a major role in Giorgio Agamben’s work starting with his book Homo Sacer. Agamben’s thinking about biopolitics, sovereignty, governmentality and form-of-life is deeply influenced by the work of Foucault, as evidenced by his sustained engagement with Foucault’s texts throughout the entire Homo Sacer series. One commentator notes that the trajectory of Agamben’s work since the mid-1990s ‘makes evident that it is proceeding by an ongoing interpretation of the thought of Michel Foucault’.1 But Agamben’s debt to Foucault does not end here. With The Signature of All Things, Agamben also shows that his research methods arise from reflections on Foucault’s use of archaeology and genealogy in his studies of discourse formation. As Agamben remarked in an interview from 2004, ‘I see my work as closer to no one than to Foucault.’2 It is therefore not surprising that Foucault has been referred to as the ‘single most decisive influence on Agamben’s later works’.
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