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The clown at the gates of the camp: Sovereignty, resistance and the figure of the fool

Amoore, L.; Hall., A.

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Authors

A. Hall.



Abstract

This article considers the figure of the clown-fool as a way of approaching anew contemporary practices of sovereignty and resistance. The spectre of the camp as the nomos of modern sovereign power is widely critiqued for its neglect of the thriving and teeming life that actually accompanies the declaration of exception. The clown is an errant and troublesome figure whose life haunts the sovereign decision on exception. His presence in border-camp activism invokes a rich, provocative history in which the clown’s foolish wisdom has critiqued the conceits of power. Yet, the clown’s significance exceeds his traditional associations with carnivalesque misrule and mockery. Like homo sacer, the clown occupies an ambiguous position between political inclusion and exclusion, between inside and outside. In short, the sovereign needs the clown. His relation to resistance is thus also complex. The clown does not turn to face a locus of power as though it could be countered or overturned. Rather, he is the example par excellence of the resistance always already present within the exercise of power: standing not inside or outside the gates, but looking through, he dwells within the court but is not of its making. As a singularity akin to Deleuze’s figurative children and Agamben’s tricksters, the clown troubles the division between interior and exterior on which sovereign political life rests, a division that is also frequently replicated in understandings of resistance.

Citation

Amoore, L., & Hall., A. (2013). The clown at the gates of the camp: Sovereignty, resistance and the figure of the fool. Security Dialogue, 44(2), 93-110. https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010613479994

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2013
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2013
Publicly Available Date Jan 7, 2014
Journal Security Dialogue
Print ISSN 0967-0106
Electronic ISSN 1460-3640
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 2
Pages 93-110
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010613479994
Keywords Sovereignty, Borders, Resistance, Security, Agamben, Deleuze.

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