This article examines the debated relationship between liberal-
democratic politics and states of exception in conditions of emergency.
After Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben, it is often maintained that
today we live in a situation of perennial exceptionalism, where emergency
measures have become a regular practice even by governments we name
‘democratic’. In these circumstances, exception is deemed to threaten democracy
and hinder individual and collective political agency. Yet, such interpretation
remains rigidly focused on the expanded governmental powers
ushered by the exception. The article first unpacks how the relationship
between exception and democracy has been differently addressed by juridical
and biopolitical approaches. Then, it attempts an alternative heuristic: it
discusses possibilities of democratic associative practices in emergency by
looking at the notion of resistance that Michel Foucault links with power. This
route remains unexplored in the literature on the concept of the exception.