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Agamben and Radical Politics$
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Daniel McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402637

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402637.001.0001

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Liturgical Labour: Agamben on the Post-Fordist Spectacle

Liturgical Labour: Agamben on the Post-Fordist Spectacle

(p.91) 5 Liturgical Labour: Agamben on the Post-Fordist Spectacle
Agamben and Radical Politics

Daniel McLoughlin

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter responds to arguments that Agamben’s work contributes little to the analysis of contemporary capitalism by reading his genealogy of government in the context of Guy Debord’s analysis of spectacular capitalism and the analysis of immaterial labour developed by post-operaismo thinkers. The chapter shows how Agamben’s analysis of glorification in The Kingdom and the Glory builds upon his earlier work on sacrifice to describe an estranged practice that masks the social foundations of governmental power. McLoughlin then argues that Agamben extends on this analysis in The Highest Poverty, which describes a monastic labour that that occupies the totality of life, and which simultaneously enacts and glorifies the divine order. This monastic paradigm can, the chapter claims, be usefully deployed in understanding contemporary capitalism, which has integrated language into both the process of exchange (the spectacle) and the process of production (Post-Fordism).

Keywords:   Agamben, Debord, spectacle, immaterial labour, post-Fordism

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