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Undoing Legal Violence: Walter Benjamin's and Giorgio Agamben's Aesthetics of Pure Means

Benjamin Morgan
Journal of Law and Society
Vol. 34, No. 1, Democracy's Empire: Sovereignty, Law, and Violence (Mar., 2007), pp. 46-64
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Cardiff University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4129580
Page Count: 19
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Undoing Legal Violence: Walter Benjamin's and Giorgio Agamben's Aesthetics of Pure Means
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Abstract

Giorgio Agamben calls for a 'playful' relation to law as a way to counteract its inherent violence. Such a relation would prevent law from functioning as a means to an end, instead treating it as a 'pure means.' This article evaluates the significance of Agamben's proposal and of the concept of pure means, arguing that both implicitly draw on a Kantian model of aesthetic experience.

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