Agamben’s geographies of modernity

Claudio Minca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the geographical underpinnings of Giorgio Agamben's theory of sovereign power. Reflecting on Agamben's attempt in developing a unified theory of power, I highlight the eminently spatial nature of two of the key concepts that mark his argument: the structure of the ban and the camp as a paradigm of modern politics. In particular, I analyse how the spatialisation of biopolitics finds in the camp the ideal site for the definition of endless caesurae in the body of the nation, and for the definition of population as a merely spatial concept. I claim, therefore, that the biopolitical state machine activated by the recent war on terror is not only an autopoietic machine, but that it is also at the origin of new geographies of exception that are imposing a new nomos on global politics: a nomos within which decision is produced by a permanent state of exception, and where law exists only through its endless strategic (dis)application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-97
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • Agamben
  • Camp
  • History of geography
  • Space of exception
  • Sovereign power
  • Ban

Cite this