Call for Papers




Special IssueThe Politics, Ethics, and Aesthetics of Inoperativity


EditorsGiovanni Marmont and German Primera


The theme of ‘inoperativity’, although already present in the very first volume of the Homo Sacer series, has increasingly claimed centre stage within the rich philosophical universe of Giorgio Agamben. A concept first found in Alexandre Kojève and Maurice Blanchot, and later developed by Jean-Luc Nancy, Agamben’s own take on inoperativity has frequently been misinterpreted, and at times even outright dismissed, as indicating simple inactivity or the absence of labour (as in Georges Bataille). In fact, this crude interpretation does not even begin to do justice to what is really at stake in the complex notion of inoperativity: an attempt to rethink acting in terms that could neutralise the productive force governing it. Production, in this case, is to be taken in the broadest possible sense, as the obtaining of results, the achievement of an end, the successful completion of a process. In other words, what inoperativity indicates is a subversion of the established relations between means and ends, the radicality of which has far-reaching implications for debates in politics, ethics, and aesthetics.

With this in mind, for this Special Issue we are looking for works that engage in a closer inspection of the important yet controversial notion of inoperativity, certainly as articulated by Agamben but also covering the emergence of this theme throughout the more or less indirect ‘dialogue’ between the Italian philosopher, Blanchot, and Nancy. Additionally, we are particularly interested in investigations that trace possible productive intersections — whether explicit or not — between Agamben’s inoperativity and other kindred conceptualisations of (political/ethical /aesthetic) action, as found in other authors and intellectual traditions. Also of great relevance would be transdisciplinary explorations and interventions in the arts (including architecture and design) that take the notion of inoperativity as a central coordinate. The ultimate aim of the issue is, then, to tease out the possible as well as actual relevance of this notion across a number of fields, theories, and practices.

Possible lines of inquiry include (but are not limited to):


  • Conceptualising inoperativity:

 inoperativity and its connection to other concepts in Agamben’s thought such as modal ontology, destituent power, use, messianism.


  • Triangulating inoperativity:

 the emergence of inoperativity throughout the work of Agamben, Blanchot, and Nancy.


  • Broadening inoperativity:

 linking the notion of inoperativity to the thought of other authors and/or other philosophical traditions (e.g. non-Western, queer, black, indigenous studies).


  • Practising inoperativity:

 the notion of inoperativity being implemented through forms of artistic intervention, prefiguration, resistance, ungovernability, etc.


  • Collectivising inoperativity:

 how inoperativity can help us rethink community, immunity, sociality, collectivism, anarchism.


  • Extending inoperativity:

 ways in which inoperativity has been either linked to or differentiated from the politics and ethics of strategies such as the refusal of work, sabotage, insurrection.


We are looking for articles of around 8000 words. Ideally, the text would be referenced in the Harvard style, and formatted according to English, rather than American English, conventions, but conformity with this is not necessary in the first instance. All submissions will be peer-reviewed, and we hope to provide authors with a response within a month, ideally.


Please send all submissions and any questions you might have to:

Giovanni Marmont ( &

German Primera (


Deadline: February 29th 2020




Future Special Issue: The Reinvention of Human Nature in Italian Thought

We also invite submissions for a forthcoming special edition on the question of human nature, the human animal, anthropology, and the intersection between the biological and the symbolic, in and around Italian thought.

          Send all submissions and questions regarding this issue to Michael Lewis (


Future General Issues:

We also invite you to submit articles, translations, reviews, and other material for future general issues of the Journal of Italian Philosophy, as well as proposals for special issues, and suggestions regarding the journal.

          We request articles and translations of around eight thousand words or less, on any topic relating to Italian Philosophy, but, since this is an online journal, we see no need strictly to insist upon such limits if the text merits it. Ideally, the text would be referenced in the Harvard style, and formatted according to English, rather than American English, conventions, but conformity with this is not necessary in the first instance.

All submissions will be peer-reviewed, and we hope to provide authors with a response within a month, in ideal circumstances, but please be patient if you write at a busy time of the year.

All general submissions should be sent to




Address for Submissions:

Journal of Italian Philosophy


Henry Daysh Building

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne


United Kingdom






Newcastle University, Philosophical Studies
The Society for Italian Philosophy
The Italian List, Seagull Books/University of Chicago Press
SUNY Press, Series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy
Genoa School of Humanities
LabOnt: Laboratory for Ontology
Italian Thought Network
Milan School