Rare post on Carl Schmitt

Jason Ralph

While there’s no shortage of material in the blogosphere on the empirical aspects of this project (interrogation policy, detention, targeted killings etc), one rarely finds posts on Carl Schmitt and the state of exception.  Schmitt, his concept of the political, his idea of the exception and his theory of the partisan inspire part of the analytical framework for this project.  To be sure there’s no shortage of academic material to be researching and my latest attempt  to relate this to the more ‘conventional’ IR approach of English School theory can be found at http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~iisjgr/  – see BISA, December 09 paper.  But it’s rare that one finds discussion on active blogs.  That’s why Kevin Jon Heller’s recent post at Opinion Juris is interesting.  Schmitt, of course, is a controversial figure because of his Nazi party membership and – as Heller puts it – his “near miss” at Nuremberg.  But what emerges from Heller’s post is a sense in which too much has been made of Schmitt’s brush with international criminal law.  Indeed, it seems the tribunal was not interested in putting Schmitt or his ideas on trial, rather they were interested in him as a witness.  Indeed, Heller repeats Joseph Bendersky’s claim that there was little particularly incriminating about Schmitt’s ideas and the claim that he provided intellectual foundations of the regime emerged separately to a proper understanding of his writings.


About Jason Ralph

Jason Ralph, Professor of International Relations, University of Leeds
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