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The revival of Carl Schmitt in international relations: the last refuge of critical theorists?

Chandler, David C. (2008) The revival of Carl Schmitt in international relations: the last refuge of critical theorists? Millennium: journal of international studies, 37 (1). pp. 27-48. ISSN 0305-8298

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0305829808093729


This article seeks to question the 'critical' readings of Carl Schmitt's understanding of international law and the use of force in international relations, particularly the approaches taken by many critical cosmopolitan theorists and many post-structuralists who have used Schmitt to distance themselves from, and to critique, American foreign policy, especially under the Bush administrations. I suggest that these critical theorists engage in a highly idealized understanding of Schmitt, focusing on his contingent political conclusions, using his work descriptively rather than analytically. It is argued that the idealist approach to Schmitt stems from these commentators' concerns to describe their work as critical rather than from any attempt to use Schmitt's underlying ontological framing of the relationship between law, ethics and the use of force to develop analytical insights into the practice and jurisprudence of the international sphere today. The revival of Schmitt in international relations therefore tells us more about the crisis of critical theorizing than the relevance of Schmitt's analysis to today's world.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:8251
Deposited On:07 Jul 2010 16:02
Last Modified:07 Jul 2010 16:02

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