Title: Against Agamben: Sovereignty and the Void in the Discourse of the Nation in Early Modern China
Authors: Liu, Joyce C. H.
National Chiao Tung University
Keywords: Agamben;bio-politics;Chinese enlightenment;cultural translation;governmentality;Liang Qichao;nation-state;political economy;sovereignty;the void;Zhang Taiyan
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2015
Abstract: In Kingdom and Glory, Agamben analyzed the dual perspective of the void, through the metaphor of the empty throne, in the governmental machine in the West. I engage with the ambiguous question of the void with regard to the concept of sovereignty through my reading of two Chinese intellectuals in the late Qing period, Liang Qichao (1872-1929) and Zhang Taiyan (1869-1936). This paper therefore addresses the question of sovereignty and the void in the discourse of nation in early modern China, an issue that is related to the problem of the political economy or the politics of life. I argue that the rhetorical move in Liang Qichao\'s argument for the birth of a new nation and new people was to move from the not-having (?) to the there is (?) in support of the formation of a new nation-state and a restricted logic of sovereignty, while Zhan Taiyan\'s position was to affirm the dynamitic re-composition of the void by constantly negating the given fixated state, and thus proposing a different and radical vision of nation and full sovereignty of the lives of each and every one of the people who are co-inhabiting in the polis.
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0263276415580855
ISSN: 0263-2764
DOI: 10.1177/0263276415580855
Volume: 32
Begin Page: 81
End Page: 104
Appears in Collections:Articles