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The state in the international theory of Carl Schmitt: Meaning and failure of an ordering principle.

Hooker, William Alexander (2008) The state in the international theory of Carl Schmitt: Meaning and failure of an ordering principle. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Carl Schmitt's idiosyncratic account of the history of the state and international relations is fundamental to an understanding of his role as a theorist of the international. The thesis argues that Schmitt's pessimism about the prospects for the modem state derives from his historical method. Combining theologically and geopolitically determinist elements, Schmitt creates varying historical narratives which together attribute the limitations of the state form to its own genesis. Schmitt creates a multi-layered historical account in which broadly domestic and international factors combine to erode the possibility of authentic political separation, and 'hasten' a broad universalism. Theological in origin, Schmitt deploys the opposing typologies of 'restraint' and 'hastening' as both historical descriptions, and as yardsticks by which to measure the efficacy of political actors. In the context of contemporary events, Schmitt eventually concludes that the history of the state has entered a period of terminal acceleration, and can no longer be sustained via the usual political methods. Having depicted this historical perspective, the thesis goes on to consider the ramifications of these conclusions for Schmitt's continued relevance as a theorist of the international. Consideration is given to the two devices Schmitt deploys in an attempt to uncover a new language for world politics - the Grossraum and the Partisan. The thesis argues that neither concept lives up to its claim to transcend or reform Schmitt's pessimistic history of the state. They are both derivative concepts that collapse back into Schmitt's wider nostalgia for the European state form. On Schmitt's own terms, they do not offer a conceptual point of departure for a raw new account of inter-genus politics. Rejecting the notion of 'Schmittianism' as a coherent and programmatic position in IR, the thesis concludes that Schmitt's continuing value lies in his provocative historical critique, rather than his conceptual innovation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2040

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