PT 3(17)/2015

Praktyka Teoretyczna – 3(17)/2015

Economic Theologies

Economic Theologies

Publication of this issue of Theoretical Practice is a part of a research grant “Critique of the Politico-Economic Theology in the Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben” funded from the specified-user subsidiary for research projects conducted by doctoral students of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of PAN.

Mikołaj Ratajczak, Rafał Zawisza, Introduction: Theology as a Critique / Wstęp: Teologia jako krytyka, Abstract

This is an introduction to the issue of “Theoretical Practice” (“Praktyka Teoretyczna”), entitled “Economic Theologies” (no. 3, 2015), edited by Mikołaj Ratajczak and Rafał Zawisza. It contains contextual explanation of the theoretical field projected by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, namely a critique of the economic theology elaborated on the basis of early Christian theological debates concerning the concept of divine “oikonomia”. The introduction also includes short summaries of the articles, translations and reviews collected in the issue.

Keywords: Giorgio Agamben, economic theology, oikonomia, theology, secularisation, Karl Marx, Marxism, biopolitics


Antonio Negri, Suwerenność: boskie rządzenie ziemskimi sprawami, Abstrakt

Recenzja książki Il regno e la gloria: Per una genealogia teologica dell’economia e del governo (Homo sacer II.2) Giorgio Agambena.

Poniższy tekst stanowi krytyczną lekturę teorii, którą sformułował Giorgio Agamben, wychodzącą od jego Il regno e la gloria. Stanowi także filozoficzne poszukiwania, które po teologii politycznej rekonstruują teologiczną genealogię myśli ekonomicznej. Skupia się na teoretyczno-krytycznym radykalizmie wobec form oporu, które tworzą konkretne dzieła przeznaczone do tego, by stały się narzędziem władzy, oraz na wynikającej stąd propozycji nieoperatywności rozumianej jako etyczny dyspozytyw powstrzymywania.

Słowa kluczowe: teologia polityczna, rządzenie, suwerenność, ekonomia polityczna, opór, podmiot, Agamben

Antonio Negri, Uświęcony dylemat operatywności, Abstrakt

Recenzja książki Opus Dei. Archeologia dellufficio (Homo sacer II.5) Giorgio Agambena.

Esej ten stanowi krytyczną recenzję książki Opus dei Giorgio Agambena, będącej piątym tomem drugiej części cyklu Homo sacer. Antonio Negri nie tylko analizuje najważniejsze argumenty książki, lecz prowadzi także dyskusję z Agambenem dotyczącą całości jego filozoficzno-politycznego projektu.

Słowa kluczowe: obowiązek, wola, ontologia, filozofia polityczna, operatywność, Agamben, Negri

Alberto Toscano, Boskie zarządzanie: krytyczne uwagi na temat Il regno e la gloria Giorgio Agambena, Abstrakt

Esej Alberta Toscano jest próbą ocenienia metodologicznej i teoretycznej wagi Królestwa i chwały Agambena dla radykalnej krytyki współczesnej polityki i ekonomii. Szczególnej analizie poddane jest w nim znaczenie sformułowania „teologiczna genealogia ekonomii i zarządzania”, które pojawia się w podtytule książki. Toscano skupia się przede wszystkim na Agambenowskim rozumieniu sekularyzacji, które umożliwia postawienie tezy, że nowoczesność jedynie dopełnia chrześcijańską „ekonomię” opatrzności, czy też że Marksowskie pojęcie praxis „stanowi w zasadzie zeświecczenie teologicznej koncepcji bycia stworzenia jako boskiego działania”. Autor stara się pokazać, że Agamben w zbytnim stopniu polega na pewnym typie historycznego substancjalizmu, który stoi w sprzeczności z jego deklaracją skupienia się na genealogii. Przygląda się także słabym punktom w Agambenowskim podejściu do tak kluczowych zagadnień, jak pieniądz i administracja.

Słowa kluczowe: Agamben, ekonomiczna teologia rządzenia, sekularyzacja, metoda, Marks, chrematystyka

Rafał Zawisza, The Surreptitious Defiance of Giorgio Agamben, Abstract

Many critics accuse Giorgio Agamben of an ahistoricism inherent to his thought. Recently, such criticism was put forward by Alberto Toscano, who formulated it referring to Hans Blumenberg’s refusal of the secularisation thesis and his theory of epochal shifts. According to Toscano, due to the acceptance of the Schmittian notion of secularisation, based on a historical substantialism, Agamben is not only unfaithful to the Foucaultian methodology which he declaratively assumes, but he also tends to acknowledge the domination of theological notions as a source of the whole Western philosophical tradition and political institutions up until now. I am going to demonstrate that even somewhat superficial claims made by Agamben about secularisation find their compensation in his double effort. Firstly, even if he concedes the gravity of the theological legacy, at the same time he rebuts the primacy of religion as an indispensable grounding of ethics and politics. What is more, through his meticulous and condense studies on Christian theology he has already placed himself  in the position of the most incisive contemporary critic of the Catholic church and any theological-political hybrids established on the abuse of power.

Keywords: economic theology, secularisation, Giorgio Agamben, Hans Blumenberg, Alberto Toscano

Mikołaj Ratajczak, Divine Management of Worldly Matters: Agamben’s Theological Genealogy of Economy as a Political Philosophy of Praxis, Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide an interpretation of Agamben’s theological genealogy of economy that will show its significance for investigations in the field of political economy. The only way to connect the discourses of economic theology and political economy is to show that the former is not concerned with questions proper to the sphere of economics, but rather deals with a more general problem – the problem of human praxis.      I will show that what is at stake in Agamben’s endeavors is a critique of theological, that is metaphysical, presuppositions about the concept of human praxis, a critique which can only be carried out on the basis of a theological genealogy, in particular of the Trinitarian oikonomia. The text will focus on the notion of liturgy in Agamben’s genealogical investigations as a theological paradigm for the capitalist management of human life (i.e. praxis) and will close with some initial remarks on the possible application of Agamben’s theological genealogy of economy to a Marxist critique of political economy, especially to      a critique of the distinction between productive and unproductive labor.

Keywords: economic theology, political theology, economy, glory, liturgy, praxis, labor, effectiveness, productivity, Agamben, Marx

German Eduardo Primera, Economic Theology, Governance and Neoliberalism: Lessons of The Kingdom and the Glory, Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine Agamben’s engagement with economic theology in order to underscore its relevance for the critique of contemporary neoliberal politics. In the first part, I offer a summary of the central arguments of The Kingdom and the Glory. In particular, I focus on both the treatment of the notion of oikonomia in the early Christian discussions on the divine trinity and its relation to the providential paradigm of government. I then show how this genealogy of oikonomia is useful for a political analysis of the present. In doing so, I respond to some of the criticisms leveled against Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory by Alberto Toscano. Finally, I will conclude by showing how Agamben’s work is of particular importance for the study of neoliberal political rationality.

Keywords: economic theology, oikonomia, Neoliberalism, Governance, Agamben

Colby Dickinson, With which political theology are we dealing? Reassessing the genealogy of political theology and looking toward its future, Abstract

In this essay, I examine Michel Foucault’s political contrast between the theological domains of the pastoral and the mystical, in order to note his focus on how necessity and providence are founding and legitimizing concepts of the State. Through this process I develop an analysis of how Foucault, in his critique of the historical uses of theology as a tool of pastoral power, actually points toward another form of political theology than Carl Schmitt’s. My contention is that we begin to see another “type” of political theology appear in the writings of Giorgio Agamben, who follows Christian traditions much more closely than Foucault. The re-formulation of political theology within Agamben’s work, I argue, has tremendous significance for the field as a whole and is much in need of further elaboration, a task toward which this essay only points.

Keywords: Foucault, Agamben, governmentality, pastoral, mystical

Mateusz Burzyk, Diagnosis without Solution: Agamben and Esposito, Abstract

The paper concerns the way how Giorgio Agamben deals with the paradigm of political theology in his Homo sacer project. The author compares Agamben’s ideas with those presented by Roberto Esposito – a thinker who apparently seems to have a lot in common with Agamben. In fact choosing different intellectual strategy Esposito’ ideas could be used as a critical tool against some parts of Agamben’s project (e.g. the concept of profanations). In spite of Agamben’s declarations and (or rather: precisely because of) unprecedented scope and deepness of his studies, he is not able to provide the way out of the political theology regime. The author tries to prove abovementioned thesis by examining the terminological level of Agamben’s ideas, the direction in which his thought is developed or the way how he conducts his genealogies. Consequently Homo sacer project seems to remind the silent language of the Impolitical.

Keywords: Agamben, Esposito, political theology, economic theology, profanations

Mateusz Piotrowski, Allegories of the Invisible. Or, How to Estrange Economy (Theologically)?, Abstract

The paper tries to once again bring into play the classical ideas of the Marxian critique of political economy and to demonstrate how these ideas can be reactivated by an injection of theology. Special attention will be dedicated to the theologically intensified notion of alienation, treated not only as a subject but also as a method of criticism. The aim of such an estranging method is to make visible the “transcendental plane” of the capitalist historical a priori. This will be done through the production of allegories, that is figurations of the infinite movement of the capitalist totality. Starting with a critique of the disenchanted Euhumerism of Hardt and Negri, who want to demythologise political economy as nothing but relations between people, I attempt to show the limits of their approach, by exposing the constitution of capital as the creation of an inverted reality. In this process, hypostasis of human labour (i.e. capital) gets the upper hand over human beings, not only in imagination, but also in reality, making a clear-cut distinction between real and imagined entities questionable. Through the analysis of the focal points of this process, I will attempt to demonstrate a complex interplay of subsequent disenchantments and miraculations, which establish capital as something more than human, while simultaneously naturalising its phantasmic becoming as the very core of the reality principle. Alienation as method tries to break the simultaneity of miraculation/disenchantment by dividing apparently unitary semblance – fetish – into distinct and potentially conflicted layers. Potential for this conflict is produced by two estrangement effects. Firstly, by juxtaposing a finite human subject with the infinite process of capital. Secondly, by thinking of conversion, which – becoming the highest point of alienation – could enable the human being to establish itself as an autonomous subject against the gods of this world and its own worldly self.

Keywords: political economy, theology, fetishism, estrangement effects, allegory


forthcomingMikołaj Ratajczak, Philosophy and the Machine of Political Theology. Abstract

In his review of the book by Roberto Esposito Due. La macchina della teologia politica e il posto del pensiero Ratajczak tries to reconstruct and evaluate Esposito’s attempt to reinterpretate the legacy of Western political theology by introducing the concept of the “machine of political theology”. He focuses first of all on the use Esposito makes of the notion of person in reconstructing the common matrix of both political and economic theology. In the end the author proposes to expand Esposito’s reference to the philosophical tradition of impersonal thought in order to search in philosophy not only a different paradigm of community, but also a different paradigm of the subject of production.

forthcomingPiotr Sadzik, Beyond the Principle of Property, Abstract

Review of Differenze italiane. Politica e filosofia: mappe e sconfinamenti, eds. Dario Gentili, Elettra Stimilli

forthcoming Michał Jędrzejek, Religia, z którą można zrobić, co się chce, Abstrakt

Recenzja książki Finis Christianismi: Wybór pism Franza Overbecka

Celem artykułu jest analiza problemu wiary i historii w wybranych pismach Franza Overbecka. Overbeck (1837–1905), niemiecki teolog-agnostyk, historyk chrześcijaństwa, przyjaciel Fryderyka Nietzschego, opisuje w swoich pracach eschatologiczny i kontrkulturowy wymiar pierwotnego chrześcijaństwa. Dzieje Kościoła opierają się według niego na powolnym wypieraniu eschatologii oraz zastąpieniu jej konserwatywnym projektem podtrzymywania i stabilizowania zachodniej kultury i cywilizacji. Z tego powodu Overbeck – broniąc integralności chrześcijaństwa jako kulturowego fenomenu oraz jego uniwersalistycznego dziedzictwa – krytykuje zarówno współczesny mu protestantyzm kulturowy (A. Harnack) jak i postchrześcijańskie i nacjonalistyczne alternatywy (D.F. Strauss, P. Lagarde). W artykule wskazuję na aktualność Overbeckowskich zastrzeżeń wobec wszelkiej – tradycjonalistycznej, liberalnej i lewicowej – teologii politycznej z punktu widzenia chrześcijaństwa zorientowanego na eschatologię. Analizuję również dwie ścieżki recepcji myśli Overbecka w XX-wiecznych Niemczech: próbę odnowienia protestantyzmu jako religii stanu wyjątkowego (K. Barth) oraz krytykę teologii i sceptyczno-ironiczne pożegnanie z chrześcijaństwem (H. Blumenberg).

Słowa kluczowe: Franz Overbeck, Hans Blumenberg, Karl Barth, Finis Christianismi, teologia polityczna, eschatologia, protestantyzm kulturowy