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The Lama QuestionViolence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia$
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Christopher Kaplonski

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838560

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838560.001.0001

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Technologies of Exception, Governmentality, and the Contingent State

Technologies of Exception, Governmentality, and the Contingent State

Chapter:
(p.26) Chapter 1 Technologies of Exception, Governmentality, and the Contingent State
Source:
The Lama Question
Author(s):

Christopher Kaplonski

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838560.003.0002

The main argument of the book is that in Mongolia, physical violence and killing was taken up as a measure of last resort, not a show of strength. Two key domains constitute the direct theoretical basis for this book. The first is Agamben’s work on the state of exception and the literature that it has spawned. The second is work in anthropology that rethinks sovereignty and statehood, which sees sovereignty and the state as much more dynamic, contested, and contingent than has previously been the case. This chapter uses this recognition of contingency and vulnerability to expand Agamben beyond a homogenous, unitary understanding of the state of exception and look at multiple ‘technologies of exception’, as well as the ways in which states simultaneously draw on, while appearing to reject, the concept of exception itself. It also explores the boundaries between sovereignty and governmentality and their relation to the exception.

Keywords:   political violence, state of exception, Mongolia, political anthropology, Buddhism, socialism, bare life, governmentality

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