Tuesday, October 20, 2009

State of Emergency

Carl Schmitt was a German philosopher who first wrote a book called “On Dictatorship” in 1922. He was interested in the power granted to the president to declare a “state of emergency.” This power was seen as the essence of dictatorship, rather than rational legal authority (bureaucracy). Schmitt was actively part of the Nazi party and refused to renounce it, so after the war he lived in exclusion. Later in 2005, Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben wrote a book called “State of Exception,” in which he explained that in a crisis a government will make exceptions to laws. By maintaining a constant “state of emergency,” a government seems justified to make decisions on demand, in exception to bureaucracy. A “state of emergency,” is the legal form that has no form.

For Agamben the state of emergency was the rise of the Nazi regime, the post WWII Cold War efforts and more recently 9-11, which continues in Iraq. Agamben writes, “the state of emergency since then has become the norm.” The media actively support the “state of emergency” through fear based news. Following Agamben’s book release in Italy, fashion photographer Steven Meisel made a photo series for Italian Vogue in September 2006. Like Badiou getting French media attention for writing about Sarkozy, Agamben's influence on Italian fashion press shows the integration of intellect into European media.

No comments:

Post a Comment