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Binding ViolenceLiterary Visions of Political Origins$
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Moira Fradinger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763301

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763301.001.0001

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Modern Sovereignty: Perversion of Democracy?

Modern Sovereignty: Perversion of Democracy?

(p.161) Modern Sovereignty: Perversion of Democracy?
Binding Violence
Stanford University Press

This chapter suggests parallels between perversion, the castle's structure of political exception, and an aspect of modern political sovereignty that is usually thought of as a zone of power above the law, which can potentially unleash annihilating violence to “solve” a crisis of membership. The question for modernity is whether this zone of exception is a mechanism gone wrong—Creon's “mistake”—or rather intrinsic to its foundations—Sade's castle. The chapter looks at these questions from the vantage point of a literary genre that emerged with the reinvention of politics on both sides of the Atlantic: the “dictator novel,” which exposes the clash between democratic (called “civilized”) and nondemocratic (“barbaric”) forces in the constitution of the newly independent American states.

Keywords:   perversion, political sovereignty, membership, dictator novel

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