I have spent a lot of time with Agamben’s Kingdom and the Glory, but until this time through, I was always baffled by the structure — the whole thing seemed to jump around quite a bit, and the motivation for the investigation of glory seemed difficult to discern. Why not skip the glory and more fully develop the stuff in the appendix? As far as I can tell, I am not the only person who has had this problem, and so I thought I would share the structure I have gleaned from the very detailed reading I’ve been undertaking over the past few days.
- This is a book about the debate between Carl Schmitt and Erik Peterson — but not on their own terms. Rather, it’s about what they both disavow (economy) and what they both unwittingly share (glory). This is a big source of misunderstanding, because it’s easy to think that Peterson is supposed to be the source of the economic paradigm Agamben is developing (particularly back before Peterson was actually translated into English).
- While the analysis of economy takes up slightly more space, the goal is to get to glory. Angels provide the hinge between the two parts, as the chapter “Angelology and Bureaucracy” seems to establish that there is no redemptive possibility in economy, while there are hints that glory is at least pointing toward something beyond our destructive power structure.
So I’ll just go through the chapters one by one.