Homo Sacer: The Logic of Sovereignty


Homo Sacer is a term used by Roman to identify a person whose citizenship is removed because of his wrong deeds, hence, Homo Sacer left with only bare life. Bare life means a person without having a say in political activities and state related issues. On bases of this Nazi Germany removed the citizenship of Jews and then killed, punished and torture them without juridical trials and without considering constitutional laws.  Since, Homo Sacer is place outside of the law and killing of Homo Sacer is not a crime. But killing of Homo Sacer is a controversial debate among philosopher. Some say that Homo Sacer is outside of law so it is okay to kill him without committing a crime and other say that one can’t kill Homo Sacer because a sinister can’t be offer to god. Because in early Roman, religion and state affairs were under the control of god and killing someone was considered scarifying for god.

According to Agamben, sovereignty is sometimes inside of the law and other times it is outside of the law depends on the situation. In the state of exception power belongs to the dictator or the head of the state even beyond the constitution. Sovereign has the ability to suspend the rule of law because law has given power over itself to sovereign in the times of emergency. Therefore, in the state of exception sovereign has monopoly over law and decision making. Other than emergency, in the time of peace constitution has power over all decision making processes. At that time sovereign is within law.



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