This introduction places the key themes of Giorgio Agamben's suite of works on biopolitics next to some of the concerns and problems that motivate the work of Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Nancy. It considers the interrelation between Agamben's ontological mode of approach to political problems and his claim that a new vocabulary is needed for politics now that the categories of the citizen and the worker have lost their original meanings. It is argued that Agamben treats political topics with the tools of philological analysis and merely presumes the explanatory hold of extreme examples on our general political situation. He thus lacks the historico-institutional perspective necessary to support his claims.

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