Agamben 2009

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Agamben, Giorgio. What is an Apparatus? and Other Essays. Ed. Werner Hamacher. Trans. by David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.

What is an Apparatus?

dispositif, "apparatus" -- "technical term in the strategy of Foucault's thought" (1)

for Foucault, it is a (in his words) "a kind of a formation, so to speak, that at a given historical moment has as its major function the response to an urgency" (qtd on 2)

  • "heterogeneous set tha tincludes virtually anything, linguistic and nonlinguistic" (2)
  • "always has a concrete strategic function ... located in a power relation" (4)
  • "appears at the intersection of power relations and relations of knowledge" (3)
"For Foucault, wha tis at stake is rather the investigation of concrete modes in which the positivities (or the apparatuses) act within the relations, mechanisms, and 'plays' of power." (6)

oikonomia --

"the fracture that hte theologians had sought to avoid by removing it from the plane of God's being, reappeared in the form of a caesura that separated in Him being and action, ontology and praxis. Action (economy, but also politics) has no foundation in being: this is the schizophrenia that the theological doctrine of oikonomia left as its legacy to Western culture." (10)

oikonomia becomes dispositio

"The term 'apparatus' designates that in which, and through which, one realizes a pure activity of governance devoid of any foundation in being. This is the reason why apparatuses must always imply a process of subjectification, that is to say, they must produce their subject." (11)
"I wish to propose to you nothing less than a general and massive partitioning of beings into two large groups or classes: on the one hand, living beings (or substances), and on the other, apparatuses in which living beings are incessantly captures." (13)

apparatus: "anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control, or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions, or discourses of living being" (14)

between living beings and apparatuses, subjects: "that which results from the relation and, so to speak, from the relentless fight between living beings and apparatuses" (14)

"The boundless growth of apparatuses in our time corresponds to the equally extreme proliferation in processes of subjectification." (15)
"It is clear that ever since Homo sapiens first appeared, there have been apparatuses; but we could say that today there is not even a single instant in which the life of individuals is not modeled, contaminated, or controlled by some apparatus." (15)
"The afct is that according to all indications, apparatuses are not a mere accident in which humans are caught by chance, but rather are rooted i nthe very process of 'humanization' that made 'humans' out of the animals we classify under the rubric Homo sapiens." (16)

religion removes human things to a separate sphere -- profanation restores the sacred to the human (18-9)

"Apparatus, then, is first of all a machine that produces subjectifications, and only as such is it also a machine of governance." (20)