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In the Antechamber: Sovereign Divisibility from Schiller to Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/07/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Political Theology
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In this article, I offer a political architectonic of what Carl Schmitt calls the “antechamber of power [Vorraum der macht]” from Friedrich Schiller, through Franz Kafka, to Walter Benjamin. To summarize my argument, I seek to contend that the “antechamber of power” has always been a marginal or supplementary space within the conceptual imaginary of sovereignty, but Schiller, Kafka, Benjamin, and Schmitt re-imagine it as the privileged space of an originary or constitutive partage, sharing or division of power. If Jean Bodin famously defines sovereign power as “indivisible,” I instead trace a certain inevitable or ineluctable self-division of sovereignty into what Jacques Derrida famously calls “plus d’un” — more than one, no more one — sources or places of power. In a series of readings of philosophical, historical, and literary representations of the antechamber, I show how the allegedly private chamber of power occupied by the sovereign alone constitutively divides or exteriorizes itself into a — potentially infinite — series of new political antechambers occupied by a new class of political bodies: Schiller’s counsellor, Kafka’s bureaucrat, Benjamin’s clerk