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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?

Chapter:
(p.161) Modern Sovereignty: Perversion of Democracy?
Source:
Binding Violence
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804763301.003.0012

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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