The leftist fascination with Schmitt and the esoteric quality of the political

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The article looks critically at the Schmitt revival among radical leftists, how they try to insulate his work from his political conviction and make a problematic distinction between liberalism and democracy, which undercuts the specificity of modern democracy and plays into reactionary identity politics. I then turn to how Schmitt conceptualizes the political and argue that the structure of his argument is antithetic to modern democracy. Against those who hold that it is possible to use Schmitt against himself, I argue that to adopt Schmitt for the purpose of strengthening liberal democracy runs into serious difficulties, because the whole set-up is geared to combat this regime form. Finally, I show that the political undermines right/left orientation because it is structured in terms of other orientational metaphors, which sustain a restrictive view on membership (in/out), unconditional loyalty to the state (up/down) and a strong sense of belonging and destiny (front/back).
TidsskriftPhilosophy & Social Criticism
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)649-669
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 2009


  • Carl Schmitt
  • moderne demokrati
  • Chantal Mouffe
  • ven/fjende
  • det politiske

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