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État d’exception, démocratie directe, exception démocratique : Le cas suisse


el-Wakil, Alice; Baudouï, Rémi; Gianni, Matteo (2016). État d’exception, démocratie directe, exception démocratique : Le cas suisse. En Jeu, (7):105-118.

Abstract

After the First and Second World War period, during which the constitutional democratic procedure was largely suspended, the Swiss population mobilised and launched direct democratic procedures to put an end to this state of exception. In September 1949, the people and the federal state accepted the popular initiative “Back to direct democracy” (Retour à la démocratie directe), a vote that marked the end of the most recent experience of the state of exception in Switzerland. Does this case allow us to refute Agamben’s hypothesis of the infinite extension of the state of exception, according to which “today it is not the city but rather the camp that is the fundamental biopolitical paradigm of the West” (Agamben 1998, 102), and to claim that there is a democratic way to stop the production of the permanent state of exception ? In the present article, we show that, if the initiative right granted by the Swiss democratic model can prevent the construction of the “camp as the ‘nomos’ of the modern” (Agamben 1998, 95), it also introduces the possibility for the sovereign people to infringe basic democratic principles, thus opening the way to forms of ‘democratic exception’.

Abstract

After the First and Second World War period, during which the constitutional democratic procedure was largely suspended, the Swiss population mobilised and launched direct democratic procedures to put an end to this state of exception. In September 1949, the people and the federal state accepted the popular initiative “Back to direct democracy” (Retour à la démocratie directe), a vote that marked the end of the most recent experience of the state of exception in Switzerland. Does this case allow us to refute Agamben’s hypothesis of the infinite extension of the state of exception, according to which “today it is not the city but rather the camp that is the fundamental biopolitical paradigm of the West” (Agamben 1998, 102), and to claim that there is a democratic way to stop the production of the permanent state of exception ? In the present article, we show that, if the initiative right granted by the Swiss democratic model can prevent the construction of the “camp as the ‘nomos’ of the modern” (Agamben 1998, 95), it also introduces the possibility for the sovereign people to infringe basic democratic principles, thus opening the way to forms of ‘democratic exception’.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
320 Political science
900 History
Uncontrolled Keywords:state of exception, initiative, referendum, Agamben, Switzerland, sovereignty, full powers, citizens' participation, voting rights, contestation
Language:French
Date:June 2016
Deposited On:18 Nov 2016 10:38
Last Modified:27 Jan 2017 10:10
Publisher:Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, Lille
ISSN:2269-2347
Other Identification Number:2-9509877-8-8

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