Spatiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt: Geographies of the Nomos is an edited volume by Stephen Legg. The book was published in the midst of accruing attention to the issues of space and order in the writings of Carl Schmitt. The objective of the book must, therefore, be understood as a critical analysis of the different ways Schmitt’s concepts can inform and have informed the study of geopolitics. This review will provide a critical summary of the main themes in the book and analyse the arguments made for and against using Schmitt. I will additionally assess the ways in which Marxist Geography can benefit from critically engaging with Schmitt. It will be argued that a critical engagement with Schmitt should start from a contextualised position and a subsequent fertile negation of his thinking.
HabermasJürgenThe Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society1991 Cambridge, MA.The MIT Presstranslated by Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence
OdysseosLouizaPetitoFabioOdysseosLouizaPetitoFabio‘Introduction: The International Political Thought of Carl Schmitt’The International Political Thought of Carl Schmitt: Terror, Liberal War and the Crisis of Global Order2007AbingdonRoutledge
SchmittCarlKolbRobertLa question clé de la Société des Nations, in Deux textes de Carl Schmitt: La question clé de la Société des Nations; Le passage au concept de guerre discriminatoire[Two Texts by Carl Schmitt: The Core Question of the League of Nations; The Turn to a Discriminatory Concept of War]2009 ParisÉditions A. Pedone
StaffIlseStaatsdenken im Italien des 20. Jahrhunderts: Ein Beitrag zur Carl-Schmitt-Rezeption[State Thinking in Twentieth-Century Italy: A Contribution to Carl Schmitt’s Reception]1991Baden-BadenNomos Verlagsgesellschaft
TrontiMarioDusoGiuseppe‘Marx e Schmitt: un problema storico-teorico [Marx and Schmitt: A Historical-Theoretical Problem]’La politica oltre lo Stato: Carl Schmitt[The Political beyond the State: Carl Schmitt]1981VeniceArsenale cooperativa Editrice
Minca and Vaughan-Williams2012, p. 756; original emphasis.
For example Schmitt2005.
Aravamudan2005, p. 227. Gross (as cited in Strong 2008, p. XIV) argues that for Schmitt ‘the “Jew” lies under one pole of the binary oppositions that Schmitt works with: The Jew is “enemy,” the anti-Christ.’ Strong (ibid.) continues and writes: ‘Lacking spatial and territorial definition they undermine all notions of “nomos”.’
See also Majer 1985; Teschke2011a, p. 93.
Schmitt in Hell2009, p. 294.
Schmitt2006a, p. 80; original emphasis.
See, for instance, Bendersky2007.
Schmitt2006a, p. 345.
Schmitt1974, p. 347; emphasis in original.
Schmitt2006a, p. 335.
Teschke2011a, p. 94, similarly separates Marx’s accumulation from Schmitt’s land appropriation by reminding us that ‘the former depicts a qualitative transformation of social property relations, antithetical to a quantitative, territorial notion of land grabs’.
Schmitt quoted in Stirk1999, p. 297.
Schmitt2006a, p. 47. The translated version of The Nomos of the Earth uses ‘land’, ‘space’, ‘territory’ and other such spatial connotations (in a sometimes confusing manner) interchangeably.
Sitze2010, p. 32.
Müller2003, pp. 178, 179. Tronti’s polemical attempt to synthesise Schmitt with Marx is, for example, discussed in Tronti 1998 and in his paper ‘Marx e Schmitt: un problema storico-teorico’ (Tronti 1981). Muller writes that ‘the Schmittian elements became part of a thoroughgoing “Marxist critique of Marxism”, which sought to take leave of economic and historical categories which had been central to post-war Italian left-wing thought, instead putting a practical theory of power squarely at the centre of revolutionary theorising’ (Muller 2013, p. 94). Schmitt was, according to Aureli’s similar reading, considered to be ‘essential in order to politicise Marx radically, beyond both the analysis of political economy and of the political consequences of political economy – namely the critique of ideology – in order to arrive at an autonomous critique of power.’ (Aureli 2008, p. 40.)
Müller2003, p. 179. Mezzadra 2011, p. 991, reminds us ‘that the work of Giorgio Agamben since Homo Sacer is a late outcome of the Schmitt renaissance’ that Tronti had earlier initiated. This ‘post-renaissance’ of Schmittian thinking continues to function as an important reference point for other contemporary Italian thinkers such as Roberto Esposito and Paulo Virno, among others. Schmitt’s state-of-exception theory has similarly been adopted by political geographers (see e.g. Gregory 2004).
Teschke 2011a; Balakrishnan2011.
Teschke2011a, p. 93. Teschke shows (contra Balakrishnan) that ‘the ontological, epistemological and theoretical premises of Marxism are diametrically opposed to Schmitt’s’, that International Relations theorists should seriously consider the political implications of adopting Schmitt’s strongly politicised geographical imaginations and that we need to ‘rethink the history of geopolitics in genuinely Marxian terms’ (Teschke 2011a, p. 86).