In Terrorist Assemblages Jasbir K. Puar contends that “State of exception discourses
rationalize egregious violence in the name of the preservation of a way of life
and those privileged to live it,” and in her summary of Giorgio Agamben’s work,
she highlights the intersection between a “biopolitics [that] continually seeks
to redefine the boundaries between life and death” and an American empire’s
conception of itself as both “unique” and “universal,” a “paradoxical claim” that
has, according to Amy Kaplan, “taken American exceptionalism to new heights” in
its frenzied “war on terror”—to an insidious place that Agamben likens to a
Möbius strip:

The temporality of exception is one that seeks to control itself; the frenzied
mode of emergency is an alibi for the quiet certitude of a slowly normativized
working paradigm of liberal democratic government, an alibi necessary to
disavow its linkages to totalitarian governments. The state of exception thus works
to hide or even deny itself in order to further its expanse, its presence and
efficacy, surfacing only momentarily and with enough gumption to further
legitimize the occupation of more terrain. Agamben likens the externally
internal space of the state of exception to a Möbius strip: at the moment it is cast outside it
becomes the inside” (9).

File:Möbius strip.jpg


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