This chapter introduces concepts that are crucial to the analysis of The Encrypted State. The most important of these is “sacropolitics,” the politics of public mass sacrifice. This term identifies a form of sovereignty that is distinct from biopolitics, necropolitics and the state of exception. Sacropolitics differs from biopolitics in the sense that it is not about the management of life. It differs from necropolitics in that it is not about the subjugation of life to death. Sacropolitics is neither about managing nor taking life but rather animating it. It is about bringing to life dead, dying or moribund populations and social formations. Sacropolitical efforts call upon the entire population to engage in public performances of mass sacrifice. These performances are intended to contribute to the creation of new life worlds that can redeem poor countries from the profane state into which they have fallen.
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