2008 Volume 59 Issue 2 Pages 2_166-2_181
In the 1920's Germany, Waiter Benjamin probed into the conglutination of the law and violence, and expected for the so-called “pure violence” to transcend the coercive order depending on the law-violence. In response to this argument, Carl Schmitt tried to consolidate a system of the sovereignty where everything was to be solved within legal contexts, even in the state of emergency.
Giorgio Agamben has successfully elucidated this “polemic” between the two thinkers. But his argument that the state of emergency has already been normalized may lead to an expectation of an escape from the present situation, like in the theory of Benjamin.
In the 60's, in his theory on partisans, Schmitt warned about the risk of the erosion of a legal system by the “irregularity” of partisans. But Hannah Arendt's beloved “space of appearance” is actually rather similar to the “space of irregularity” of partisans. Seen in this way; the seriously dissenting thinkers coincide in setting a boundary between a desirable realm and an undesirable realm.
However, this kind of boundary setting may not be necessary for the politics. What is needed is a continuous and endless negotiation between the dichotomous categories.