Thursday, October 04, 2007

l'état d'exception

a little translation question:

"l'état d'exception"

i know what it means - a state which due to some crisis doesn't follow the rule of law. any idea how to translate it though? "authoritarian state", "martial law" and "autocracy" are all in the neighbourhood but definitely not at the right address...

let me know if you can...


  1. I think I would used "state of emergency". See the wikipedia for both french and english terms and it's almost the same. The french entry for "état d'exception" mention that UK had an "état d'exception" in Northern Irland so maybe you can find what was the exact expression there.

  2. Check out Carl Schmitt, the rightist-reactionary Catholic political philosopher who inadvertently (?) provided the underpinnings of the German fascist state with his conceptual development of this term, as well as recent left philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben who have reappropriated the term critically in order to theorize (post)modern forms of state violence and oppression.