The essay investigates how the relationship between the modern state and the monopoly of violence has in the recent years, undergone significant changes. The relationship between the modern state and the monopoly of violence is one of the main features of Western politics, where the identity of state, nation and territory has been guaranteed by the monopoly of the means of coercion– police and armed forces. One could even say that the very notion of representation depends upon the stability of the state borders and the order that an effective monopoly of violence is able to maintain. Today, the progressive evanescence of such monopoly, and a correspondent proliferation of violence both inside and outside the borders of states, poses new and puzzling questions. What seems to be at stake, in terms of the loss of efficacy of the modern concept and practice of sovereignty, is the end of the ‘pact’ between state and citizen, one that, at least since the time of the father of such a concept, Thomas Hobbes, has been founded on the mutual relationship of obedience in exchange for protection. What happens when the 'covenant' that was founded on the famous agreement protego ergo obligo is broken? How can we imagine a politics to come that can be freed from the representative procedural structures that are unable to guarantee what they have been created for? Acknowledging the end of what has been called the ‘immunitarian’ function of modern politics, political theory must embark on the imaginative task of recognizing the end of that model and its anthropological premises, where the very measure of representative democracy – the atomized and self-sufficient individual – can no longer work.
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