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Nomarchy: on the rule of law and authority in Giorgio Agamben and Aristotle

Humphreys, Stephen (2006) Nomarchy: on the rule of law and authority in Giorgio Agamben and Aristotle. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 19 (2). pp. 331-351. ISSN 0955-7571

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09557570600724827


This article suggests that the current rise of the rule of law as a mobilising political principle may be understood as a response to contemporary anxiety about authority. It also argues that the recent increase in states of emergency is complemented by an expansive legalism. First, the paper reviews Giorgio Agamben's description of legal expansion through states of emergency (or 'exception') dictated by a language of fear. Second, in a philological inquiry, it accompanies the 'founding father' of the rule of law, Aristotle, in his discussion of law's sovereignty. The core question posed by Aristotle — regarding the inquiry into the ideal relationship between law and its administration — remains unresolved in his Politics. Finally, the analysis is grounded in judicial responses to states of emergency. In recent case law, the courts both facilitate the production of emergency regimes and provide a locus for contestation of their parameters.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Informa plc
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2009 15:39
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2024 08:45

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