Study Guide

Giorgio Agamben Files

SHMOOP EXCLUSIVE: We've totally got on hands on the following info from a leaker inside Milan's Airport Security team. Our confidential source confirms that Giorgio Agamben's carry-on was seized and plundered when the philosopher attempted a recent flight bound for Paris, where he was scheduled to deliver a series of lectures on the early Church. Get a load of this.

A List of Items in Agamben's Carry-On, Confiscated by Airport Security in Milan

  1. Anarchist Pamphlets
  2. Hebrew Bible
  3. Biology Textbook
  4. Signed Copy of Being and Time 
  5. Miniature bust of Martin Heidegger
  6. Miniature model of Heidegger's Hut
  7. Photo Album with Portraits of Famous Italians, including Italo Calvino, Elsa Morante, and Pier Paolo Pasolini
  8. Fan Mail from 1,459 U.S.-based Graduate Students
  9. Secret Stash of Medicinal Herbal Supplements
  10. Custom-Made T-Shirt that Says, "JUST SAY NO TO BIO-POWER"
  11. Collected Poems of Dante Alighieri
  12. Gospel According to St. Matthew DVD
  13. Katy Perry CD

Asked by Shmoop staff to comment on the incident, Agamben had this to say:

It is an outrage! The seizure of my carry-on in Milan shows the security state at its absolute worst and most invasive.

Several irreplaceable items, including a priceless miniature model of Heidegger's Hut and a Katy Perry CD, were confiscated from me that day, and I intend to write angry editorials in both French and Italian newspapers until these things are returned.

But enough about me and the effect—profound though it was—that the confiscation had on me. It's really the principle of the thing. I mean, how dare they? Security has rifled through my bags before, but never has anyone dared to seize my belongings at an airport.

Mind you, these belongings were totally harmless—apart from the anarchist pamphlets. Okay, and maybe the CD. But that's neither here nor there. What's really at issue here is the state's claiming the right to violate the privacy and seize the property of one of its citizens willy-nilly.

I will have my day in court! Oh, wait—come to think of it, my work has shown that court, too, is a place where being is abandoned to, rather than aided by, power. So maybe my day in court won't make a difference—today. But there's always tomorrow.

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