I had previously posted about the crazy theory of Sovereignty- i.e. the supreme authority within a jurisdiction- posited by Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat and return to the topic here in a bid to identify their major malfunction
The following is from 'Sovereign Bodies' which they edited. It came out about 17 years ago.
This volume questions the obviousness of the state-territory-sovereignty link.
There can be a sovereign order- e.g. Knights of Malta- which does not have a territory. I suppose one could say that, for a particular purpose, one sovereign authority may consider another to be sovereign even if it is a bit shit. The same point may be made about territorial 'liberties' and 'sanctuaries' created by a sovereign such that his own power is limited for a particular purpose and within certain boundaries such that he gets more money.
Sovereignty does not mean power. A sovereign may be powerless- e.g. the Emperor of Japan during the Shogunate- and sovereignty is not necessarily extinguished by loss of relevant territory. It is not indivisible or inviolable or transcendent- it can be pooled, subordinated, suspended, extinguished, revived or made conditional. This is the sort of thing constitutional lawyers or diplomats concerned with protocol might bang on about. On the other hand, the word sovereignty could also be used in a metaphorical sense. One might say 'the sovereignty of the people is expressed by farting loudly any time anybody mentions Global Warning'. The meaning is that the masses acknowledge no supreme authority save the oracular and smelly power of the fart when faced with virtue signaling shite. But then any word could be used in a metaphorical sense. One might say 'Crimea's supposed sovereignty is a smelly fart which must not be allowed to linger in the august precincts of the Council of Europe.' Metaphors, however, don't refer to a factual state of affairs. No type of sovereignty is actually a fart and any metaphorical use of the word 'sovereignty' is worth no more than a fart. Meta-metaphors- based on taking farts to actually be sovereign or sovereignty to actually be a fart- are delusive and any supposed scholarship based upon them must be dismissed as stinky bullshit.
In the case of sovereignty, it should be borne in mind that some crazy people may have believed the King was Divine or Transcendent or really really special. Nutters may also have horrible sexual kinks involving bondage and submission and torture and having your dick nailed to a bench while the King and the Pope and Mummy look on laughing maniacally. It is these sort of crazy nutjobs who have informed Hansen and Stepputat's garbage theory of sovereignty.
In tune with a line of constructivist scholarship in International Relations theory
which merely refers to collective beliefs which currently obtain- not crazy shit about the Divine Right of Kings or Popes or sacred crocodiles in the Nile.
(e.g., Kratochwill 1986; Ruggie 1993; Biersteker and Weber 1996) we conceptualize the territorial state and sovereignty as social constructions.
But this conceptualization is not itself a social construction. It is not a collective or belief, norm, or convention. It is crazy shit cooked up in worthless University Departments. Social constructions solve coordination or discoordination problems. This is merely masturbation for cretinous academics.
Furthermore, we suggest to shift the ground for our understanding of sovereignty from issues of territory and external recognition by states, toward issues of internal constitution of sovereign power within states through the exercise of violence over bodies and populations.
This is foolish. The exercise of violence over bodies and populations occurs with or without any type of sovereignty- de jure or de facto. Moreover, sovereign power can exist without its interfering in such violence. There is a right to self-defense. There may also be a sovereign who exercises violence. But, equally, the sovereign may decline to do any such thing.
Why are these cretins writing such nonsense? The answer is that they, like some other crazy Continental pseudo-intellectuals, have misunderstood Hegel so as to indulge in magical thinking.
In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel remarks that during “the feudal monarchy of earlier times, the state certainly had external sovereignty, but internally, neither the monarch nor the state was sovereign” (Hegel  1991, 315).
Hegel was wrong. External sovereignty might not exist simply because the country was a remote island unknown to its nearest neighbors. But internally, if there was a monarch, then there was a sovereign though that sovereign may have had no coercive power. Equally, a highly coercive monarch- like Henry VIII- might create Liberties or Sanctuaries- or have what were previously ecclesiastical sanctuaries under canon law brought under the umbrella of the common law for some purpose of his own.
To be fair, Hegel specifies that he is using a terminology of his own such that there are 'two determinations'- i.e. things which sublate themselves in the moment they are understood, as happens when a labored figure of speech is decoded- which supposedly constitute the sovereignty of the state. But there can be sovereignty without a state and vice versa. Hegel's remarks only make sense for German students of a particular period who believed that something very nice and good was coming to be- viz. the shitshow that was German unification under Prussia.
Historicist ideas such that countries moved towards a unified 'Maachtstaat' machine for waging war or that Machstaats were bound to evolve into nice and sweet ordo-liberal Rechtsstaats are obviously fucked in the head. There is phenotypal plasticity. The fitness landscape dictates the trajectory of political regimes.
This “internal sovereignty” of the modern state was only possible under “lawful and constitutional conditions,” in a unitary “Rechtsstaat” whose “ideality” would show itself as “ends and modes of operation determined by, and dependent on, the end of the whole” (316, emphasis as in original).
Hegel is not speaking of material reality but how it is understood. 'Determinants' merely a sort of rhetorical scaffolding of an unnecessary and labored type. You understand the King doesn't really rule at the very moment you understand the King's function or unction or truncheon is some obvious shite which doesn't matter a fart. The good news is that you don't have to bother with this type of stupidity if you know that the Rechtsstaat of Teutonic tossers were all fucking horrible. In matters of politics and jurisprudence, Anglo-Saxon is the way to go. The Law is just a service industry like prostitution or pizza delivery.
Hegel makes it clear that this modern “ideality” of sovereignty can only be realized insofar as local and familial solidarities of “civil society” are sublated to expressions of patriotism through the state, particularly in situations of crisis (316).
No. He is saying that, in his system, the understanding of 'civil society' must be sublated at the moment it is fully grasped. But, his system is known to be shit, so we needn't bother.
Even in this, the most systematic thinker of the modern state,
but his system was shit.
sovereignty is not the bedrock of state power but a precarious effect—and an objective— of state formation.
only in the understanding of the would-be Hegelian, not in reality.
Our aims are threefold. First, we suggest that sovereign power and the violence (or the threat thereof) that always mark it,
The Pope is sovereign. That's why so many peeps keep getting beaten up by the Swiss Guard in Vatican City.
Violence does not always accompany sovereignty. On the other hand, all sovereigns piss and shit. Why won't these two nutters concentrate on defecation and micturition as the marks of sovereignty rather than violence? Is it coz thinking about violence gets them hard?
should be studied as practices dispersed throughout, and across, societies.
and various species of animals. The Lion is the King of the Jungle. He nails the dicks of hyenas to benches while laughing maniacally.
The unequivocal linking of sovereign power to the state is a historically contingent and peculiar outcome of the evolution of the modern state system in Europe since the Westphalian peace in 1648.
No modern state signed shit in 1648. 'Westphalian sovereignty' is a nineteenth century invention.
The discipline of International Relations has for decades assumed states to be both normal, that is, with de facto legitimate control of their populations and territory, and identical, that is, with similar interests, strategies, and expected patterns of action.
It only makes these assumptions for a didactic or model theoretic purpose.
To become a normal sovereign state with normal citizens continues to be a powerful ideal,
though, if the thing is viable, it has already happened.
releasing considerable creative energy,
Kurds are very creative- that's true enough though their dynasts seem to have made a mess of things in Northern Iraq. Sad.
and even more repressive force, precisely because its realization presupposed the disciplining and subordination of other forms of authority.
Not necessarily. A super-power might have superior authority and yet enable this realization.
The trouble with these two cretins is that they don't read over what they have written and are thus never in a position to correct their own escalating misology.
We suggest that sovereignty of the state is an aspiration
But aspirations exist even if they are wholly impossible. Why not say 'my ginormous cock is an aspiration that seeks to create itself in the face of Supermodels who will express surprise and delight at its prodigious girth and length.'
that seeks to create itself in the face of internally fragmented, unevenly distributed and unpredictable configurations of political authority that exercise more or less legitimate violence in a territory.
Which is what happened in the USA. The guys ruling one State may have been enslaving and lynching some people who enjoyed perfect liberty and security in some other part of the country.
Sovereign power, whether exercised by a state, in the name of the nation, or by a local despotic power or community court, is always a tentative and unstable project
unless it isn't which is what actually obtains in India or America or Europe- save for Eastern Ukraine.
whose efficacy and legitimacy depend on repeated performances of violence and a “will to rule.”
Fuck that. A reasonably effective police force is all that is required. It would be truer to say that 'sovereign power is only exercised in a tentative and unstable manner if the person or persons involved need to piss or shit really badly. Thus the efficacy and legitimacy of sovereign power (which it is difficult to exercise with any dignity while you are pissing or shitting yourself')ultimately depends on repeated performances of mictiration and defecation and a 'will to not soil yourself'.
These performances can be spectacular and public,
Like when the President of South Sudan wet himself on live TV
secret and menacing,
like when King Charles III creeps up on Joe Biden and releases a silent but deadly fart in his face.
and also can appear as scientific/technical rationalities of management and punishment of bodies.
Rishi should punish the King if he farts in Biden's face. I'm kidding. Rishi should tell the Scottish Nationalists what Charles Rex had done and that would put an end to any talk of breaking up the Union.
Although the meanings and forms of such performances of sovereignty always are historically specific,
Charles Rex is chasing his late Mum's corgis and is pissing on them
they are, however, always constructing their public authority through a capacity for visiting violence on human bodies.
Why only mention violence? Why do these guys not mention farts and burps? Is it coz thinking about violence gets them hard?
Is it not the case that sovereign power always seeks to project itself as dignified and not wholly given over to flatulence? Why don't these two cretins draw attention to this fact?
sovereign power always seeks to project itself as given, stable and natural, it never completely manages to achieve the status of a “master signifier”
save in jurisprudence, diplomacy, economics and other such stuff which actually matters
that can stabilize a social order and a set of identities.
but there is no sovereignty unless the social order meets a Goldilocks condition re. social order.
, we believe
stupid shit because you are stupid shitheads
that the complex history of the reconfiguration of sovereign power and citizenship in colonial and postcolonial societies demonstrates something important, and uncomfortable, about the permutations of these concepts.
Concepts don't have permutations more particularly if they overlap in significance or acceptation. As the nature of sovereign power changes, the nature of citizenship changes and vice versa.
Colonial forms of sovereignty were more fragmented and complex,
Not in British India. There were just two categories- British subjects and British protected subjects. Things got more complicated as Buddhist Burma and Muslim Pakistan broke away.
more reliant on spectacles and ceremony,
Not necessarily. The Brits liked ceremony but the Dutch in Indonesia didn't go in for it very much.
and demonstrative and excessive violence,
one 'excessive' demonstration was generally enough to keep a Province quiet for a decade.
than the forms of sovereign power that had emerged in Europe after several centuries of centralizing efforts.
Nonsense! Scotland still has a different legal and educational system. British India tended to standardize things across Presidencies from the Eighteen Thirties onward.
These differences were rooted in indirect rule at a distance, to pragmatic reliance on local, indigenous forms of rule and sovereignty, and tied to the efforts at asserting racial and civilizational superiority.
In some places at some times but not in others. But this was equally true of European States. Sweden didn't treat its indigenous Sami people very well and the Catholic Irish or the Celtic speaking people of Cornwall, Wales, Northern Scotland etc. have their own tales of woe to tell.
European states never aimed at governing the colonial territories with the same uniformity and intensity as were applied to their own populations.
Unless that is precisely what they did. It was a favorite gibe of George Bernard Shaw that the Indian Civil Service showed greater concern with uniformity and intensity than anything which obtained at home. It is certainly true that the Indian penal code was in advance of that of the home country in several respects.
The emphasis was rarely on forging consent and the creation of a nation-people,
As the Irish complained
and almost exclusively on securing subjection, order, and obedience through performance of paramount sovereign power and suppression of competing authorities.
That's the story of Ireland, not the story of India. In 1857 Disraeli told the House of Commons that India hadn't been conquered.
Demonstrative violence and short term economic exploitation were constitutive of colonial rule
and domestic rule. States need money. That means economic exploitation- e.g. getting me to pay excise duty on my booze and fags- in the short run. Also, what deters me from grabbing the titties of police officers is my fear of 'demonstrative violence'.
and took precedence over long-term economic rationalities.
There are no long term economic rationalities- coz, in the long run, everybody dies.
As a result, the configurations of de facto sovereign power, justice, and order in the postcolonial states were from the outset partial, competing, and unsettled.
Just like in the never-colonized state.
We believe that by zooming in on the historical production
evolution or constitution but not production
and actual practices of sovereign bodies—from states, nations
which are not sovereign unless they are also states
which aren't sovereign
self-appointed big-men and leaders,
who aren't sovereigns
to mobile individuals and political outfits
Individuals and political outfits aren't sovereign whether they are mobile or lying prone.
—outside the metropolitan hearts of empire,
coz hearts of empires could also be rural or sylvan or located on the Ocean floor- right?
this volume can qualify and complicate understandings of power and sovereignty both in the postcolonial world and in “the West”; it can open new conceptual fields in the anthropology of politics; and it can demonstrate the need for more embedded and “emic” understandings of what sovereign power actually means.
Sovereign power is power with a particular Hohfeldian immunity. It isn't some shit these cunts have in their heads.
The modern notion of sovereignty
are the same as ancient notions of sovereignty.
as the ultimate and transcendent mark of indivisible state power emerged
in ancient Sumer or some other such place.
in Europe from the complex power struggles between the Vatican and the kings of northern and western Europe.
Fuck off! Before there were Popes, there were Caesars some of whom were declared to be Gods.
As the idea of the ultimate authority vested in the Pope and the Holy Emperor began to crumble in the Renaissance and post-Reformation world,
The Pope's authority fluctuated. This was even more true of the Holy Roman Emperor. These cunts are just recycling High School History of a cretinous sort.
kings and their states increasingly became loci of both secular and divine authority. In his classic account, Laski argues that, “Luther was driven to assert the divinity of states, that the right of a secular body might be made manifest. [. . .]
Laski was talking bollocks. Luther asserted the divinity of Lord Jesus Christ not some shitty little Reich. Still, given all that Jews at that time had to put up with, Laski shitting on Luther is forgiveable.
The state became incarnate in the Prince” (Laski 1950, 45).
Or the Prince became but the shadow of his Crown. Anybody can talk bollocks of this sort.
The rising urban bourgeoisie in many European states put their weight behind the kings in the protracted conflicts with the landed aristocracy,
No they didn't. In England, the bourgeoisie turned against Charles I and James II sometimes under the banner of territorial magnates. Under the Sun King, the opposite was true. But only approximately. The picture varied greatly across Europe.
challenging the latter’s rights to land, taxation, and eminence.
No. Something like 'Tiebout sorting' occurred. Capital fled to where it was kept safer. But, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the nobility prevailed and the nation sank under foreign occupation.
The results were varieties of absolutist power, unification of territory, and centralization of the administration of the state, as well as elevation of royal power from being bestowed through acts of investiture by the political bodies of the estates, to become originary, indivisible, and above contestation.
Not for long even in Russia. There is no point saying a thing is 'above contestation' if Praetorians can kill the sovereign and put in someone else.
The sovereignty of the king now became the central principle of power, a mystical and metaphysical secret, beyond the reach or comprehension of ordinary men and only answerable to the divine law.
This simply didn't happen save in silly political pamphlets. Hobbes, though briefly a tutor to Charles II, was opposed to Filmer and 'divine right'. He fled Paris for London precisely he feared the Royalists would kill him for Leviathan. Later Charles II gave him a pension.
As famously put by Thomas Hobbes: “The multitude so united in one person, is called a common-wealth. This is the Generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather (to speak more reverently) of that Mortall God, to which we owe under the Immortal God, our peace and defense” (Hobbes 1991, 120). This configuration of power had roots in older conceptions of kingship,
D'uh! Hobbes and other scholars spent a lot of time translating Greek into Latin and so forth. They well knew that there had been God Emperors all over the fucking place long before a crucified Man-God from Nazareth became known to Europe.
not least in the late-medieval political-theological notion of “the King’s Two Bodies,” analyzed subtly by Ernst Kantorowich.
romantic tosh. The guy had a cult of Fredrick II and thought Stefan George was the cat's pajamas. It seems even assimilated Jews don't understand Christianity. Also, Germans are clueless about Anglo Saxon law which is based on 'legal fictions'. The King, like anybody else, can hold property either personally or as embodying a Corporation or Trust howsoever called. This is a tangled field.
In the figure of the king, two bodies were united, the “natural body” of the living king,
unless they were separated- e.g. by grant of regency or sui generis act of a Lord Protector.
and the more eternal and encompassing “body politic” which expressed the office, the estates, and the majesty of the royal institution.
Which weren't that different from what pertained to a Corporation or what we would now recognize as a Trust.
The latter was superior to the former, and the body politic is often described as a corpus mysticum, a mystical body that was eternal and could not die along with the natural body.
For the same reason that a man's Estate survives his death even if he dies intestate.
In spite of this articulation of theological concepts in the sphere of politics, there was a clear acknowledgment of royal power as not being sacred in itself, but being embedded in and dependent on the recognition of his subjects, as well as the blessings of the Church (Kantorowicz 1957, 7–23).
Or not, if that is what actually obtained- e.g. in Ireland 'beyond the pale' after Henry VIII divorced his wife.
In contrast to this older acknowledgment of royal power as fragile and embedded, the notion of absolute rule
which was even older. There have always been guys who claimed a divine right to be God-Emperor. Some succeeded.
posited a constitutive and unbridgeable distance between the sovereign and the subjects,
but this 'unbridgeable distance' also exists between different subjects which is why I can't sue to get you to wipe my bum on the grounds that your hand belongs to me or my arse actually is your responsibility.
and imposition of the will of the sovereign on the body politic.
Or the imposition of anybody will in any justiciable matter.
As Maritain puts it in his critique of sovereignty: “Either sovereignty means nothing, or it means supreme power separate and transcendent—not at the peak but above the peak—and ruling the entire body politic from above.
The same thing could be said of libertarian 'self-ownership'. Still the word 'power', like the word 'violence', gets shitty little academics hard. But what is true of power and violence is also true of shitting and pissing. Nobody can take a dump on my behalf when nature calls me. It is something I have to do myself.
That is why this power is absolute (ab-solute, that is non-bound, separate) and consequently unlimited” (Maritain 1969, 47).
Only in the same sense that my power to shit out a turd taller than the Eiffel tower is unlimited.
This configuration of sovereignty had been in gestation for a long time in Western Europe.
Nonsense! Fredrick II was quite erudite and had some misconceptions about Islamic Law but, let's face it, he failed.
Kings tried to carve out a space
unless they didn't have to or couldn't be arsed
between the localized power of feudal lords, and the deeply entrenched notion of imperium—embodied in the Holy Roman Empire and the power of the Vatican to legislate, overrule and excommunicate disobedient kings.
Kings did what they needed to be Kings unless they didn't need to or stopped being Kings despite their best efforts. No fucking 'space' had to be carved out.
Hobbes’s notion of the Covenant, by which subjects give up their right to rule themselves and grant it to the overlord in exchange for protection, defined the origin of sovereign power in acts of violence
no. Consensual acts are not acts of violence. However after lots of violence has occurred, consensus is easier if one guy keeps kicking everybody else's ass.
that were foundational exactly because they expressed an excessive and overpowering resolve to rule on part of the king.
or just a moderate desire to do so. However if overpowering urges to micturate and defecate were not yielded to, the King might explode and die.
In spite of the imputed stability and self-evidence of the Covenant, most of Hobbes’s argument circled around how sovereign power could be delegated and exercised in ways that would not undermine the status of the sovereign .
Don't delegate sovereign power to a stranger who says he has a hamster in his pocket and asks if you want to stroke it. The dude does not really have a hamster in his pocket. There is a hole there which leads to his penis. Such, at any rate, are the gems of wisdom I'd have imparted if, like Hobbes, I was tasked with tutoring the future Charles II.
The most cursory glance at the violent constructions of centralized states of this era makes it plain that the preservation of the majesty of the sovereign king always was threatened by war and popular insubordination.
Even if there was no fucking majesty or sovereign king.
The model of sovereign kingship was also from the outset challenged by other notions of legitimacy and representation of power.
Like dudes saying 'You iz not the boss of me'.
The elaboration of a theory of the inalienability of sovereignty was at the heart of these efforts from the twelfth century onward.
Prior to that Kings paid dudes to go around saying you could alienate the fuck out of the King's powers provided you stroked the hamster in his pocket.
As shown by Riesenberg,
Peter Riesenberg- but that stuff is outdated.
both theorists of law as well as theologians contributed to a new idea of legitimate power and public office defined as a relationship between individual subjects and the king, rather than mediated by the estates or the res sacrae, the realm and property of the church (Riesenberg 1956).
This simply wasn't true. What these guys forget is that Byzantium was just as much a legatee of Imperial Rome. Anyway, plenty of Church Property was constantly being de-sacralized.
See, e.g., van Gelderen’s recent account of how notions of civitas and respublica in the early Dutch republic in the sixteenth century challenged and undermined the idea of kingship as the only legitimate representation of the estates (van Gelderen 2003).
No. These notions had currency because, in an early Republic, chances are the idea of Kingship is gonna be challenged and undermined. That's coz a Republic isn't a fucking monarchy.
The violent and yet precarious character of sovereign power was expressed even more clearly in Jean Bodin’s earlier discussion of what he called the “true marks of sovereignty.” As Bodin puts it: “To be able to recognize such a person—that is, a sovereign—we have to know his attributes (marques) which are properties not shared by subjects. For if they were shared, there would be no sovereign prince” (Bodin 1992, 46).
The attribute is God telling a Prophet- Bodin mentions Samuel- that so and so should be King. Bodin goes on to say that the King's suppressed Samuel's speech to the people where he described all the naughty things which Kings should not do. I suppose Catholics didn't go in much for Bible reading back then.
These marks were not necessarily bodily marks or forms of dress but first and foremost a specific type of actions that by their resolve and sheer force affirmed the status of the sovereign power as indivisible, transcendent, and self-referring. Bodin enumerates ten different marks, or abilities, that mark sovereign power:
though they may arise purely by consensus or convenience- e.g. the decision of an arbitrator or other such person employed for the purpose by a professional or other such association. There need be no 'foundational act of violence'. Before there were Kings, there were Judges and Prophets. Samuel himself was a war leader.
to give laws and change them at will (without consent of the subjects);to wage war against opponents or enemies of the state; to appoint the highest officials of the state only at its own will; to have the last judgment (dernier ressort) in legal disputes and thus also the power to pardon and grant freedom to prisoners irrespective of the law; to coin and validate money within the state; to impose tax on subjects or to delegate that right to officials or lesser lords; to confiscate land and assets; to use a royal seal to validate and authorize; to change the language of his subjects; and to reserve the exclusive right for himself to bear the title of “majesty”
Why are these fools quoting all this? It is obvious that sovereign power- e.g. that of the British Crown in Parliament- may lack some or all these attributes.
What is implicit but never spelled out in Bodin’s text is that
the Holy Roman Emperor should kindly just go fuck himself. France could be way more cohesive under a sensible monarch.
sovereignty is an effect of these actions, and that sovereignty needs to be performed and reiterated on a daily basis
just like shitting and pissing but unlike violence
in order to be effective, and to form the basic referent of the state.
So the basic referent of the state is analogous to shitting and pissing.
Just like power only can be known through its effects,
only in the sense that piss and shit can be known by the authors only when they taste and swallow it
sovereignty also was here defined as a performative category,
like shitting and pissing
an ontologically empty category
nope. The category must de defined over a populous ontology.
organized around a mythical act of foundational violence, or what Derrida has called a coup de force, a self-referential founding of the law as ground (Derrida 1992).
Though no such thing has ever happened or could happen save in some Hegelian sense such that it is sublated at that very moment.
If sovereignty is fiction,
then our bodies are fiction
as Runciman has proposed in a similar vein (Runciman 2003), it is made real and reproduced through
shitting and pissing. You don't really exist. You are purely fictional save when you piss or shit.
ritualized, everyday confirmations of this royal violence:
again the obsession with violence! Fuck do these dudes think the late Queen Gor' bless er, got up to at Bucking Palace. Was she constantly beating and sodomizing the Prime Minister?
the giving and enforcement of laws, the killing of criminals as well as enemies of the state, or of those who did not pay due respect to the king, and so on. The absolutist and authoritarian states developed and matured
with or without Kings
in response to the insubordination, energy, and immense creativity released by the renaissance notion of the immanence of the world, that is, the independence of the human world from the divine and the transcendent (Hardt and Negri 2000–1, 97–101).
But only because God permeates his Creation. Why are these cretins mentioning this?
These states sought to control increasingly mobile and literate populations and evermore restless and assertive estates within the body politic.
No. They sought to profit by increased mobility, literacy etc. It simply isn't true that power is all about chaining up a gimp in your torture dungeon or that all Knowledge is a conspiracy to prevent everybody acknowledging that they want to be flogged while a one legged obese man shits on their tits.
The language of sovereign power now downplayed its self-born and self-referring character
because it wanted to play up its character as a self-pleasuring and self medicating loser.
and turned to increasingly moralizing and inclusive registers, positing the sovereign as serving God’s will,
as opposed to offering everybody a cheap thrill
as well as the people by obeying the moral laws of society. In Pufendorf’s classical treatise On the Duty of Man and Citizen (1673), sovereign power is described as founded on the consent of the people which can only be maintained if the sovereign provides safety to the people and rules in a virtuous and prudent way.
Unless they can do a better job for themselves. But Republics too are sovereign.
The relationship between ruler and subject is described in terms of duties of the citizens but also of the sovereign who should enforce “public discipline so that the citizens conform to the precepts of the laws not so much through fear of punishment as by habituation” (Pufendorf  1991, 152).
That's still pretty much what happens. Anyway, by then England had had a Lord Protector who'd kicked ass. The problem was succession. Cromwell's son did not inherit his qualities and the Long Parliament proved to be more than somewhat shit.
Considering the rhetoric of sovereign power being exercised in the name and service of the people, the emergence of “the people” in the eighteenth century political debates as the ultimate source of sovereignty appears less discontinuous than sometimes made out to be.
It was a revival of Senatus Populusque Romanus, though after the Glorious Revolution, the Brits settled on the Crown in Parliament coz the People smell bad.
“The people” and notions of popular sovereignty were slowly invented in various forms in different states in Europe and in North America (Morgan 1988)
they had always existed in the notion of 'the Commons', 'the Third Estate' etc.
but were never equated with what Spinoza termed “the multitude,” that is, the actually existing mass of subjects.
Unless they were.
“The people” was made up of small groups of educated, wealthy, and propertied men, and of representatives of the estates—free peasants, artisans, burgers, and so on.
peasants, artisans and burgers are part of the Third Estate in Western Europe. Sweden and Russia were a little different.
By virtue of their control of property, of their domestic life and family, and of themselves (qua their Christian conscience and interiorized belief that supposedly controlled their actions), they were accorded a measure of sovereignty as individuals.
No. Subjects had no 'measure of sovereignty' whatsoever. However, a sovereign prince could serve another sovereign and though having no personal immunity, nevertheless his own demesne could not be escheated. Conventionally, the eleventh century is seen as the starting point for modern notions of sovereignty based on Roman law and which, supposedly, differed from the traditional limited monarchies which had emerged out of the Western European Dark Ages. The problem is obvious. William the Conqueror was more of an absolutist than anybody before or since. England has never seen a humanitarian disaster like the harrying of the North. But, going further back, to the Seventh Century Visigothic code we find there was considerable fluctuation from reign to reign, or even within a reign, between absolutism and limited authority. This suggests the essentially ergodic, not epistemic, nature of power and sovereignty. Economists, not stupid anthropologists who get a hard on when they see the word 'violence', can clarify matters. Better still, is just plain, garden variety, common sense.
Whereas the king and his corpus mysticum had symbolized and embodied sovereignty,
unless their heads were chopped off
the popular sovereignty was an even more abstract and transcendent principle
and yet embodied in the ideal citizen, the man who is reasonable qua his reason, his self-control, and his property.
Unless the fellow was a Jew or belonged to wrong sect or political clique or was easy and enticing to rob and kill.
As Lefort has remarked, democracy made political power and thus sovereignty into an “empty place,”
these guys have a fixation with empty spaces- probably coz they are always in search of places to have a crafty wank.
a mystical source of power that only could be temporarily manifested through representation of “the people” by “mere mortals” (Lefort, 1988, 17).
as opposed to zombies- right?
The crucial marks of sovereign power— indivisibility, self-reference, and transcendence—
are meaningless. Sovereignty is not indivisible. A sovereign nation can split into two like Czechoslovakia or Norway splitting off from Sweden. In British law, the Crown became divisible in 1953. Previously there was only one realm. Furthermore sovereignty is not established by self-reference though it may embrace a doctrine of autochthony such that its grundnorm is not located in what went before. Finally, there is no necessary link between sovereignty and transcendence. The thing could be perfectly secular.
were now embedded in the citizens.
very true. That's how come all the citizens of the USA can't be prevented from all fitting into the same pair of underpants.
Violence was now fetishized as a weapon of reason
only in the sense that it stands to reason that ancient tribal fetishes must be shoved up the bums of violent anthropologists if other weapons are not available.
and preservation of freedom of the citizens vis-à-vis the threats from outsiders,
because tickling invaders may not cause them to run away
from internal enemies, and from those not yet fit for citizenship—slaves and colonial subjects.
not to mention cats and rubber plants.
The French and American revolutions did, however, open several disjunctures between people and state.
Nonsense! Those disjunctures already existed because of fetishes which had been crammed up the bums of violent anthropologists.
The absolute monarch had represented sovereign power
No. He had sovereign power. I have a five pound note. I do not represent the purchasing power of 5 quid.
and the state encompassing “the people” within the body politic.
coz a body politic which embraces 'the poo-poo' would just be silly.
Now the state and “the people” could no longer be identical
except if, as in the American constitution, they were
and the state could become unrepresentative, illegitimate, and worthy of destruction.
It could always become that even if it had been constituted by cats
This crystallization of popular sovereignty did not curb the authoritarian possibilities inherent in the modern state
nor did it blurb the anarchic impossibilities extrinsic to the ancient gate
but created the possibility of a new and more intensive merging of state and people.
They could now all get into the same pair of underpants.
New intensive and “caring” forms of government of welfare, economy, and morality had developed in towns and cities across the German speaking Central Europe in the seventeenth century.
There was nothing new about them. Anyway, Germany simply doesn't matter very much save to Germans and those unfortunate enough to be invadable by them.
This so-called cameralism
is eighteenth century. It means bureaucrats at Court trying to manage the realm of some Comic Opera Prince more economically so the guy wouldn't look like a fucking beggar compared to his royal cousins in England or Russia.
and the strong local patriotism it engendered became a central inspiration for the emerging nation states
Nope. There was Tardean mimetics- that is all. Holland started to do well and was imitated. Ditto England, France etc. Spain wasn't imitated. It was a shit-show.
As nation states developed from the eighteenth century onward they engaged in a protracted labor to make the elusive “people” appear in tangible forms:
very true. Kings would dig up their lawns hoping to find the elusive 'people'.
in a shared history,
one which featured everybody fitting into the same pair of underpants
in common sets of symbols emerging from everyday life (language, customs, religious life, etc.), clear boundaries, and not least, in rituals of death (punishment of traitors)
and defecation and micturation. Also sneezing and saying 'gesundheit mother fucker.'
and sacrifice (death and heroism in war and service of the nation) reproducing the national community.
Which involves sex- right?
As George Mosse has pointed out, this paved the way for a direct representation of the people in mass-spectacles
having sex- right?
and the aestheticization of politics that characterized fascism.
Eva Braun used to shit on Adolf's chest while Mussolini operated the cine-camera.
“The chaotic crowd of the ‘people’ became a mass-movement
bowel movement? Orgies could have that effect.
which shared a belief in popular unity through a national mystique.
involving everybody squeezing into the same pair of underpants and then saying 'does our ass look fat in this'?
The new politics provided an objectification of the general will” (Mosse 1975, 2).
No. A new Constitution did. Politics is separate from Jurisprudence.
Popular sovereignty became increasingly synonymous with national sovereignty
unless the reverse happened.
and the people was now produced as citizens
not produced, they were presented as some shite or other.
of the nation-state and their “political love” for the nation produced in schools, in the army, through innumerable institutional and disciplinary practices, pedagogy, art, songs, war, and worship (Weber 1977).
I suppose talk of 'production' sounded vaguely Marxian just as talk of space sounded vaguely mathematical and talk of violence was code for 'why can't we all admit we want to be beaten and tied up and then shat upon by an obese one legged woman?'
The system of sovereign territorial states that had come into being after the Westphalian peace in 1648 only came into its full flourish on the European continent in the nineteenth century.
Nonsense! Much of Europe was under ancient Empires which had nothing to do with Westphalia.
Domination of the non-European world, the race for commerce and territory, was intrinsic to this formation of sovereignty,
It was irrelevant. Germany unified before it had any colonies.
just as the colonial world provided an essential ground for the formation of dominant ideas of nation, morality, domesticity, culture, and religion in the Western Europe.
There is no evidence for this whatsoever. Dominant ideas of nation, morality, domesticity, culture and religion predate the Hebrew Bible.
As Barry Hindess points out in this volume, vast colonial populations became integral to the international system of states as “noncitizen populations”;
fuck off! A brown dude from Bombay was a subject of the Queen-Emperor just as much as a white dude from Bristol. Either might be made a baronet or elected to Parliament.
an illiberal and authoritarian parallel world whose subjects were permanently subordinated, serving as labor, soldiers and markets for proper and liberal European states.
Unless they weren't and lived large as Serene Highnesses enjoying sovereign immunity.
Similarly, the colonial territories only enjoyed a quasi-sovereignty by virtue of being the appendices to the metropolitan states.
In British law, there was only one realm till 1953 when the Crown became divisible. Was Canada & Australia 'mere appendices'? Nobody would ask them for fear of getting their head punched in.
As in the early modern period, the language of legality was the preferred expression of sovereign power of the nation-state.
Coz the language of flowers was considered a bit gay.
“The people” began to acquire an altogether more stable, homogenized and orderly form as citizens were governed by law, and as states demanded primary and indivisible loyalties to the nation in return for a measure of rights.
This is silly. As technology improved and material standards of living went up, people began to look nicer all over the place. In places which were as poor as shit, the people didn't look 'homogenized and orderly' even if there were laws and rights and so forth.
The twentieth-century history of the modern nation-state in the Western world revolved centrally around protracted struggles for recognition of citizenship rights to wider sections of the population— women, the working class, nonwhite individuals and communities, immigrants and so on—
not really. France gave women the vote in 1945. Some Swiss cantons waited till quite recently. So what? Nobody gives a shit. Lots of smart peeps are currently moving to Dubai. Do they give citizenship to the coolies who do all the menial work? Who actually gives a fuck? The people look orderly and homogenous coz they've got plenty of money.
but also the granting of a wider and deeper set of rights and entitlements.
which are meaningless without effective remedies.
In T. H. Marshall’s classical account, the notion of citizenship began with civil rights, for example, rights to property and to a fair trial in which proper individual citizens could claim habeas corpus (lit. the right to claim and present one’s body in front of a court),which curtailed the exercise of arbitrary state violence by defining the body of the citizen as an integral part of the sovereign body of “the people” and thus entitled to due process.
This is a just-so story like Coke's notion that the Common Law derived from Greek speaking Druids.
The next phase was that of formal political rights to vote, to freedom of speech and assembly, in order to create political bodies representing the people and the nation; and the third phase was the social rights of the twentieth-century welfare states, in which citizenship meant access to an ever widening set of economic entitlements (Marshall 1977).
All of which is cool unless there is a fiscal cliff and an entitlements collapse. What matters is whether remedies are incentive compatible. If they aint, they will disappear.
As is well known, this politics of recognition (Taylor 1994) has continued to expand and proliferate, now including the recognition of a large number of cultural, religious, and sexual minorities in still more countries in the world.
But pedophiles still keep getting to jail. The justice system isn't all bad.
As we will return to later, this is a complex process with many forms driven by internal political compulsions, by increasing flexibilization of citizenship rights across national boundaries, as well as an ever more powerful discourse of human rights that impel states to grant rights, or resist from repressive measures in order not to damage their international reputation and standing within an elusive but effective “international community.”
Which was busy slaughtering 1.3 million innocent Muslims in far off places. It is obvious we need more Gays in the Military if we we to keep killing brown peeps.
In this “age of rights” (Bobbio 1996), it seemed possible, until very recently, to claim that the exercise of sovereignty in its arcane and violent forms was becoming a thing of the past, that sovereignty now finally rested with the citizens, at least in liberal democracies.
It is still possible to talk nonsense. But it may become less and less rewarding to do so.
The world order after September 11, 2001, seems to belie this optimistic assumption, and it may be useful to revise the standard history of what Foucault somewhat reluctantly called “democratization of sovereignty.”
Useful things can't be done by useless tossers. Sad.
The languages of legality have, he argued, “allowed a system of rights to be superimposed upon the mechanisms of discipline in such a way as to conceal its actual procedures—the element of domination inherent in its techniques—and to guarantee to everyone, by virtue of the sovereignty of the state, the exercise of his proper sovereign rights”
There are individual rights and there are sovereign immunities. Foucault was as stupid as shit. Also he didn't actually know French history as witness his witless remarks about the vase of Soissons.
. The crucial point is that, today, sovereignty as embodied in citizens sharing territory and culture, and sharing the right to exclude and punish “strangers,” has become a political common sense, or what Derrida calls “ontotopology” that defines the political frontlines on immigration in Europe, on autochthony and belonging in Africa, on majoritarianism and nation in South Asia and so on.
I suppose this was before the war on terror so fucked up the MENA that Europe became unable to stem the tide of migration.
In order to assess and understand the nature and effects of sovereign power in our contemporary world, one needs to disentangle the notion of sovereign power from the state
so as to be left with paranoid nonsense.
and to take a closer look at its constituent parts: on the one hand, the elusive “secret” of sovereignty as a selfborn, excessive, and violent will to rule;
That's not the secret of sovereignty. It is the secret of an evil tyrant whose misfortune it is to be a turd in the large intestine of a soon to be shitter.
on the other hand, the human body and the irrepressible fact of “bare life” as the site upon which sovereign violence always inscribes itself but also encounters the most stubborn resistance.
unless sovereign power is too busy killing Muslims in far away deserts or mountains. Still, now we have lost the war on terror, we can only hope that some nice sovereign power is using a rusty nail to inscribe all sorts of pithy apothegms on the bare skin of these two cretins.
Sovereign Bodies: Violence, Law, and Bio-politics It was Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison that
most nakedly revealed to us that the man was a maniac. His big complaint was that the polity had not followed the path blazed by Giles de Retz and the Marquis de Sade. Instead, there was neo-liberalism.
more than any other work brought questions of the body to the center stage of contemporary understandings of power.
Previously, people thought that torture and incarceration and anal rape in penitentiaries was inflicted on piggy-banks, not people.
The first chapter analyzes how the bodies of the condemned in their vulnerability mark “the symmetrical, inverted figure of the king” (Foucault 1977, 29),
unless, like Condorcet, they have the sense to top themselves. But there was no King when Condorcet took the easy way out.
of the surplus power or excess that, as we saw above, is the mark of sovereign power.
It is nothing of the sort. Sovereign power rather waxed than waned when it got rid of cruel and unusual punishment. Any crazy fucker can take his time carving up anyone he has condemned.
Analyzing how public torture and executions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were carefully arranged to symbolically punish the limb that “committed the crime,” often executing people at the scene of the crime, Foucault argues
in between furious bouts of masturbation
that, “Its aim is not so much to reestablish balance as to bring into play, as its extreme point, the dissymmetry between the subject who has dared to violate the law and the all powerful sovereign who displays his strength [. . .] the punishment is carried out in such a way as to give a spectacle not of measure, but of imbalance and excess”
Very true. Foucault jizzed copiously but then lost his balance and fell down thus breaking his stink bone. Sad.
The body of the criminal, naked and humiliated
and, but for the grace of God, dripping with Foucault's cum
was, in other words, the necessary double of sovereign power,
only so Foucault could get hard and jizz again
its necessary surface of inscription.
My jizz will turn into hydrochloric acid! It will burn the name of Satan on your blushing cheeks, Justine! Ha ha ha ha ha!
The tortured body transformed itself into something else, an object of collective projections
of Foucault's jizz which had been turned to hydrochloric acid! Meanwhile, if only neo-liberalism would fuck off, the sovereign power of the people might very kindly insert some nice fetishes stolen from the Anthropology Dept. up Blom's bum-hole.
of the plebeian crowd whose presence was essential to these performances of sovereignty.
Rough trade isn't enough. The voyeurs too must be rough.
To some spectators,
the tortured body, purged of the evil at the moment of death,
which evil? I suppose the dude means tortured bodies shit themselves. It's that little extra touch Foucault insisted on. His was a rare and discerning palate.
became pure and almost sacred, as the sheer stubbornness of life in the bodies that refused to die became a counterpoint to royal might.
I suppose our two authors were taking turns shitting on each other as they wrote this. One can almost hear their Nordic cries of doctrinaire lust.
The condemned sometimes became popular heroes, symbols of the injustices of the sovereign, and in many cases ineffective executioners were attacked by crowds, prisoners freed, or the dead bodies of the condemned taken care of and given a decent burial by insurgent crowds. Foucault notes that these “disturbances around the scaffold” provided an important impetus to the rethinking of the system of prisons and punishments from the eighteenth century onward.
Not very much 'rethinking' was needed to do the ghastly business inside the prison.
Another motive driving the invention of the modern prison and correctional system was that the arbitrariness, the “archaic arrogance [. . .] exaggerations and loopholes” of the “super-powers of the monarch” allowed for a certain “right to illegality” at all levels of society (80) that accorded even the lowest strata a “space of tolerance” that was readily and obstinately defended.
There were medieval 'liberties' the last of which in England are the Inner and Middle Temple but there were also royally designated sanctuaries. It was not convenient for these to altogether disappear. I suppose there is a 'right to illegality' in places where the criminal element is concentrated. But this is true of countries where there are no monarchs or ones where they are mere figureheads.
These two forms of excess, spectacular and arbitrary royal sovereignty,
e.g. that of eighteenth century Tzars
and the “infra-power of acquired and tolerated illegalities” of the common people
which didn't exist in Russia where serfdom was introuduced.
came together in their most dangerous and unpredictable form around the spectacles of public executions (89).
Peter the Great introduced such spectacles after seeing them in Western Europe. The practice was discontinued after his death. Foucault, being ignorant of history, was talking bollocks. Also the was as crazy as a bedbug.
The reaction was, as is well known from Foucault’s subsequent work, the invention of modern prison system that concealed sovereign violence within thick walls,
No. It concealed people behind walls. That is what buildings do- unless they are made of glass. But prisons have existed for thousands of years. Joseph, in the Bible, was thrown in prison. This does not mean Pharaoh was laughing maniacally as he shoved pineapples up Joseph's bum. No fucking sovereign violence occurs in prison. If you get beaten of shanked or raped, no sovereign power is involved.
made the condemned into “the property of society, the object of collective and useful appropriation”.
Foucault drooled incessantly at the thought of all the delicious torture that sovereigns must be getting up to behind the thick walls of prison. The man was a lunatic.
In the penitentiaries the criminals were supposed to exercise penance and cleanse their souls but, more important, to subject their bodies to a range of new correctional disciplines that unlike the marks of sovereign power left by torture, left “traces, in the form of habits, in behavior”.
When Foucault started school, he noticed that some kids had a habit of turning up looking well scrubbed and neatly dressed. They were not bleeding copiously from the rectum and the word 'Satan' had not been inscribed on their cheeks with hydrochloric acid. This made Foucault very sad. He consoled himself with the thought that these kids may indeed have been tortured in some refined, but utterly horrific, manner such that though they bore no scars or suppurating wounds, nevertheless 'habits' had been inscribed upon them by some crazy sovereign who was laughing maniacally.
This was in Foucault’s view a set of political technologies of the body
whose functioning through minute and pedantic disciplines
were fundamentally different from the archaic forms of sovereign power.
which involved shitting all over the place
This new political anatomy and its dispersed effects on individual bodies were, Foucault argued “absolutely incompatible with the relations of sovereignty,” which always “encompasses the totality of the social body” (Foucault 1994, 218) and expresses itself through a language of law and legal codification.
It seems, however, that some of the manifestations of what Foucault saw as an archaic exchange between sovereign power and the simple life of condemned bodies are still very much with us. Prison revolts or, even more effectively, hunger strikes among prisoners are often used to great symbolic effect. Not unlike the sacralization and purity of the dying or tortured body on the scaffold, the emaciated body and the suffering of the hunger-striking prisoner destroying his/her own body, transforms the prisoner from a criminal to an almost sublime and purified figure. Allen Feldman provides another striking example of this in his analysis of the “Dirty Protest” among IRA prisoners who refused to wash their bodies or wear clean clothes.
They smeared their cells with their own excrement. Shitting, it seems, is what 'Sovereign bodies' do. But this also true of the UN.
Through this use, if not suspension, of their own bodies initiated a broad and powerful protest against the prison authorities that only consolidated their moral leadership among inmates as well as outside the prison walls
Bobby Sands was elected an MP while on the hunger strike that killed him.
There are other examples of similar uses of the body that defies disciplinary power and challenges more conventional manifestations of sovereign violence:
pissing? Is that we are talking about
the civil disobedience campaigner who willingly submits his/her body to be beaten and put in prison and thus renders state power both excessively brutal and strangely impotent at the same time;
unless, as happened in the case of the Maha-crackpot- state power simply increases because the nutters are forming a nice orderly line to get beaten on the head and then carted off to jail
or the more extreme case of the suicide bombers, whose determination to die make them manifestations of a sovereignty of will and of the individual body.
but only to the same extent that a determination not to die is a manifestation of the imperium of the id or the parliamentarianism of the passions or the theocracy of thought
Like other manifestations of sovereignty,
or sovereignty of manifestations
such display of will,
or wills of display
sacrifice and disregard of death
or death of sacrifice as disregard
appear both frightening and awe-inspiring
and pissy and shitty
as it thematizes the almost sacred character of life itself.
or sacralizes the life of characterplogical themes themselves.
Even in situations of total control,
but also in controls of situational totals
exception from legality,
and legality from exception
and psychological humiliation,
and the humiliation of the psychological
as in the camps at Guantanamo Bay,
or the bays of the camp at Guantanamo
it is imperative to keep the bodies of the prisoners alive and in good health
or to simply not give a fuck
in order not to be seen to violate the ultimate—biological life itself.
or in disorder to be violated by the ultimately seen- which is itself life as but logical bios.
The “secret” of sovereignty seems,
the sovereignty of what seems as its own apotheosis as secret
in other words, still to be defined in the tension between the will to arbitrary violence
shoving pineapples up your bum
and the existence of bodies that can be killed but also can resist sovereign power,
in the sense that dying is a type of resistance to doing what you are told
if nothing else by the mere fact of the simple life force they contain.
or the forced life of the simple they fact as mere.
If sovereign power originates in excessive and exceptional violence
pigs are flying around shitting on your head
that wants nothing or sees nothing beyond its own benefit or pleasure, its object, but also its ultimate resistance, is found in the simple life of bodies that desires nothing beyond itself and the simple moments of pleasure of everyday life.
Very true. King is torturing and raping virgins all the time. Why am I not allowed to watch? Is it due to neoliberalism? Fuck you neoliberalism! Fuck you very much!
This fundamental embeddedness of sovereignty in the body was at the center of Georges Bataille’s exploration of the concept and its meaning in the modern world. To Bataille,
not having your dick nailed to your bench while an obese one legged woman shits on you was like totes Fascist- but not in a good way.
sovereignty is not merely an archaic form of power and subordination but articulated more fundamentally in attitudes, or acts, beyond the realm of utility and calculation. “Life beyond utility is the domain of sovereignty”
but only because sovereignty of domain is the beyond which constitutes utility as its own catachresis while a one legged obese woman shits on you- provided, of course, that you dick has been nailed to a bench.
Sovereign enjoyment is excessive and beyond the needs of those enjoying.
Did the one legged obese woman have to quote Racine as she shat on you? Yes. Sovereign enjoyment is like that only.
A sovereign command does not calculate minutely what it wants, but inadvertently reproduces obedience qua its very gesture of disregard of danger and death.
Positive law- which is sovereign command- does not produce or reproduce obedience. Calculations- which may be minute- of cost and benefit do so.
Sovereignty resides in every human being
only in the sense that every human resides in sovereign being while an obese one legged woman shits on it.
and shows itself in the desire to enjoy and revel in brief moments of careless freedom, in sexual ecstasy,
e.g. your dick being nailed to a bench
in moments of simple nonanticipatory existence,
e.g. when an obese one legged woman shits on you
when an individual experiences “the miraculous sensation of having the world at his disposal”
after an obese one legged woman has shat on you
This was the original condition of man in “his non-alienated condition [. . .] but what is within him has a destructive violence, for example the violence of death”
Did you hear? One legged obese woman is dead. Who will now shit on Bataille?
A part of Bataille’s essay anticipates Foucault’s work by arguing that modern bourgeois society, and communism with even more determination, have striven to eradicate the wastefulness, irrationality and arbitrariness at the heart of sovereignty:
or the sovereignty at the heart of the spectacle of the obese one legged woman shitting on Bataille
both as a mode of power,
or the power of the mode as the thematization of its own catachresis as the being shat upon by an obese one legged woman
as a mode of subordination driven by the subject’s projection of their own desire onto the spectacle of wasteful luxury of the court and the king,
Fuck you king! How come you are keeping all the shitting, one legged, obese women to yourself? Oh. Its so us proles can project our own desires onto the catachresis of the syzygy of the thematization of the being of sovereignty as the becoming of violence and everybody dick getting nailed to a bench- right?
and as a space for arbitrary and spontaneous experiences of freedom and suspension of duties. The essence of Bataille’s proposition is that because the exercise of sovereignty is linked to death,
as is the exercise of eating nothing but your own shit
excessive expenditure (depenser) and bodily pleasure can neither be contained by any discipline, nor be fully “democratized” into an equal dignity of all men.
or men as the all of a dignity without equality save by the salvific grace of the catachresis of the constipated one legged obese woman.
Because sovereignty revolves around death,
or because death is the sovereignty around which it itself revolves
the ultimate form of expenditure beyond utility,
i.e. the most wasteful type of expenditure
it constitutes in Mbembe’s words an “antieconomy”
or anti-economises Mbembe's constitution such that he shits like a one legged, obese, woman.
To Bataille, sovereignty has no positive existence
in the same sense to existence Bataille is the sovereignty without positivity of the law of eternal return
but is a miracle intrinsic to human existence
or the human as the existence of what is intrinsic to the miracle
and can only be determined
or be determined only as a can can
through what he calls a “negative theology”
as opposed to what negative theology calls him- which is a word which would rhymes with 'cunt' if it weren't actually 'cunt'.
that captures the “miraculous moments”
and sells them on Ebay
in which sovereignty is experienced: in the awe of the leader or the king, in the disregard of death, of timidity, of prohibitions.
Very true. People feel awe when they meet Joe Biden. They disregard death and boldly fart in his face.
I think these guys mean urine
flows from the assertion of a basic life force that foregrounds the body and the senses rather than the intellect, it is ultimately connected with the will to take life, and to give up one’s life but not in a calculated and rational fashion.
People often piss themselves when they realize their life is about to be taken. There is nothing calculated or rational about this.
Sovereignty is the opposite of “faintheartedness”
in so far as 'opposite' is the faintheartedness of a Sovereignty that flees its own univocity
and Bataille writes: “Killing is not the only way to regain sovereign life,
you could watch Netflix and chill instead
but sovereignty is always linked to a denial of the sentiments that death controls”
NO! Sovereignty is never linked to anything except the control of the death of the sentiment of its own denial by whatever it is linked to except on Tuesday morning when it does Pilates. Well, it doesn't really do Pilates but keeps meaning to. Okay, okay, it doesn't know what Pilates is or why anybody would want to do it. Still, it's the sort of thing you like to drop into a conversation just so peeps think you've got a life.
In Bataille’s view, the divine is the ultimate sovereign phenomenon,
whereas Divine's view is that phenomena are the ultimate Bataille or super-sovereignty of the banal or some other such shite emerging from the anus of a one legged, obese, woman.
organized around an unknowable but indivisible void, a “deep unity of NOTHING” that only can be known through its effects, the enchantment it generates, the imagination it fires and the objects it sacralizes.
in which case it aint unknowable. Steven Hawking won't shut up about all the cool things he discovered about black holes.
To Bataille, the mystery of sovereignty has an irrevocably archaic quality, an “animality that we perceive in sovereignty”
or anything else
whose reappearance as various forms of irrational excess upsets and disturbs the ideals of equality and reciprocity forged in modern bourgeois societies (and those under communism).
these guys were very disturbed- that's true enough.
Echoing Mauss’s notion of gift-giving as an inherently unequal form of reciprocity because the giver always retains more than he/she gives,
But Mauss was simply wrong about the Vedic yagynya.
Bataille argues that “the universal aspiration of the sovereignty of the gift giver”
whereas actually aspiration is the universal of the giver as sovereignty's gift to itself for actually going to Pilates on a Tuesday except it couldn't be arsed coz fuck Pilates- right?
, that is, the desire to impress, assert and dominate through excessive expenditure inevitably presents a problem for the bourgeois sense of “proportionality”
any desire or expenditure taken to excess presents the same problem.
The generative link between violence and the sacred in the act of sacrifice
doesn't exist. Hindus do puja with flowers or butter or parched grain instead of chopping off the heads of various animals
is well known in the anthropology and sociology of religion from Durkheim to Otto but received its most exhaustive and philosophically inflected treatment in the work of Rene Girard
A Proust scholar. Sadly, his crazy theory is only plausible to spoiled Catholics or guys who actually nominate and kill scapegoats.
( Bataille tried to understand sovereignty as a common denominator for what we may call the “gift of power”—
though sovereignty is wholly independent of power. Authority does not mean the same thing as threat potential. An elderly Mum may have authority over her hooligan sons though she has no coercive power over them.
the mystery of the will to power of certain individuals, the charisma that violence, selfishness, and ruthlessness generate—
A President who refuses clemency to some charismatic gangster represents sovereign authority even if, as in India, the President is a ceremonial figurehead.
and he identified its origins in elementary life force that expresses itself in extraordinary actions and moments.
Which has nothing to do with the highly respectable and cultured persona of actual Heads of State.
For all its subtle insights, it is not surprising that Bataille’s work has been accused of rearticulating themes in the philosophical “vitalism”— from Nietzsche’s ideas of the willpower of a future superior being, Bergson’s biological ideas of the elan vital as an irrepressible life force, to Heidegger’s much deeper ontological reflections, and even Merleau Ponty’s writings on emotional and embodied intensities.
The thing is garbage. Some stupid cunts with crazy sexual kinks or paranoid fantasies may like that shite and pretend it represents 'philosophy' but the truth is obvious. This is stupid shite recycled by cretins.
But, unlike these writers, Bataille shifted the emphasis from searching for the sources of the will to understanding will as an effect that is deducted from violence and other sovereign acts.
There are people who gloat over descriptions of horrific gang-rapes and who have a hero-worship of sadistic killers. But the deductions they make about the nature of the will are evil and stupid.
However, on the whole, vitalist thinking had a troubled and ambiguous relationship with rightwing politics and critiques of modernity throughout the twentieth century.
Only in the sense that smelly shit has a troubled and ambiguous relationship with stinking turds.
The crux of this problem lies in Bataille’s somewhat impoverished analysis of modern bourgeois society as governed by lifeless, disciplinary and commercial logics, and his view of sovereignty, the sacred, and the elementary forces of life as residues of an archaic age.
The guy was a nutter. He started up a group whose aim was to get together and chop off the head of one their members. But all wanted to be the victim. None would be the executioner. I suppose Hansen and the other Nordic nutter who wrote this shite started off wanting to understand the primitive mind. But Anthropologists have the most primitive minds anywhere. Worse, they have become sub-human. There can be no anthropology of anthropology for this reason. There is merely this ethology of coprophagous swine.