Issue 27.2, May 2012


FROM THE EDITORS' INTRODUCTION - This issue brings together two bundles of essays, one on Pentecostalism, the other on sovereignty. Unlikely bedfellows perhaps, religious and political sovereignties nevertheless often share a common conceptual vocabulary and are theorized together by scholars such as Schmitt, Agamben, Mbembe, and Hardt and Negri, among others.  Today, terms drawn from this “political theology” tradition – bare life, states of exception, necropolitics, the politics of life, biopower – and a host of hyphenated sovereignties (parastatal, partial, fractal, modular) have become part of the everyday anthropological lexicon.  What counts as life and a life worth living in the contemporary period? What does it mean when exceptional states have become the norm and citizenship has been reduced to bare life?  How have global humanitarianism, the medicalization of populations, bioterrorism, and increasing securitization transformed the relationship between states and citizens? In what sense have churches and NGOs taken on sovereign functions as states have withdrawn from the social field?  How to think “life” in an age when laissez-faire and the increasing disposability/superfluity of populations is accompanied by perpetual violence and increasing surveillance and intervention.  What of the Foucauldian passage from sovereignty to biopower today?