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Abstract

This article argues that Agamben’s conception of fiction is crucial for understanding his recent works. I suggest that the key to understanding Agamben conception of fiction is to be found in a few curious remarks at the end of Language and Death. These remarks explain why the distinctions between life and death, animal life and human life, bare life and political forms of life, the outlaw and the sovereign, and the norm and the exception that continue to preoccupy Agamben are all fictions. After considering Agamben’s account of these fictions and their relation to the relevant passage in Language and Death, the article explores the ways Agamben thinks the fictions that govern human action and social life might be unworked.