Sovereignty as its own question: Derrida's Rogues

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This paper attempts to provide, through a reading of Derrida's Rogues, an account of the political phenomenon where regimes of sovereignty are resisted in the name of the very values — freedom, democracy and human rights, for example — they purport to stand for. To Derrida, sovereignty must simultaneously conform to a logic of both self-identity and of unconditionality. However, the unconditionality that makes sovereignty possible will always threaten and exceed it, something that other accounts like Agamben's try implicitly to deny. In the end, for Derrida, our present political challenge is to recognize, and even affirm, the way the unconditionality of sovereignty is turned against itself. Sovereignty, then, is most effectively dealt with not by imagining a world in which it will no longer occur, nor by simple opposition, but by committing to the very logic of sovereignty itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-375
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Political Theory
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • sovereignty
  • Derrida
  • post-structuralism
  • Agamben
  • power


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