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In the Antechamber of Power: Sovereign Divisibility from Schiller to Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/07/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Political Theology
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date29/07/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this article, I offer an architectonic of what Carl Schmitt calls the “antechamber of power from Friedrich Schiller, through Franz Kafka, to Walter Benjamin. To summarize my argument, I contend that the “antechamber of power” may always have been a supplementary space within the conceptual imaginary of sovereignty, but Schiller, Kafka, Benjamin, and Schmitt re-imagine it as the privileged space of an originary partage, sharing or division of power. If Jean Bodin defines sovereign power as “indivisible,” I instead trace the self-division of sovereignty into what Jacques Derrida famously calls “plus d’un” 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 itself into a series of new political antechambers occupied by a new class of political bodies: Schiller’s counsellor, Kafka’s bureaucrat, Benjamin’s clerk.