Autoimmunity and the Irony of Self-Definition: Translating the Economy of Terror

Samrat Sengupta


In order to avoid descending into the state of nature the sovereign takes over the appearance of the state of nature itself – the animality that is primordial to the constitution of this legal framework, the animality of primitive force. This is the autoimmunity of the modern state which in order to provide security to its subject, to save them from going down to the state of nature, unleashes violence – it kills in order to protect. The principle of the modern state is to produce killable entities, or antibodies within. This paper would attempt to address the philosophical tension: how far can animality be effectively confined or killed and does it come back to haunt the being? If behind the power of the sovereign is the founding violence, the animal force which makes one obey, the traces of that originary moment continue to haunt the sovereign. However this paper would argue that one has to be responsible to the animality within to deal with the crisis of autoimmunity. It would end with a certain idea of the literary that can encounter this moment of crises, deferring the mute indefinable and non-representable terror.


Keywords: Autoimmunity, Literary, Human, Animal, Biopolitics, Death.

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