Examination of the limit serves as a powerful tool for revealing the hidden characteristics of concepts, and also their relationship with other concepts. This article follows the processes of sovereign exceptionalism from Marx to the capitalist estrangement of labour from Marx to their limit figures. The paper builds on comparisons between the proletarian and the homo sacer; however, the focal point is not on the figures themselves, but their importance in understanding the effect of biopolitics on power relations. Building on the concept of pouvoir constituant as discussed by Carl Schmitt, this paper addresses the ways in which different types of constituent power form structures that can then be used against the constituents themselves. The limit figures suggest a process of abjection is co-created in the establishment of power structures, and that overcoming this process requires a conscious dis-agreement with the politics of policing.
Citation: Murphy, Michael P. A. 2017. “Pouvoir Constituant Betrayed: A Model of Abjection in Power Relations.” Journal of Political Power.