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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Since the mid-1980s, the Western Left has split on how to evaluate the political and constitutional theory of Carl Schmitt. The analysis traces and historicizes a movement from aversion to appropriation of Schmitt’s writings in contemporary political theory. In the first half of the chapter Habermas is presented as developing his own positions in part through deep engagements with Schmitt’s thought. In the second half of the chapter, three contemporary political philosophers who are grouped under the label “left-Schmittian” are profiled. Contemporary left-Schmittians try to circumvent the Schmitt compromised by the “Third Reich,” but sometimes by diluting him beyond recognition. Close readings of Gopal Balakrishnan, Andreas Kalyvas, and Chantal Mouffe support the argument that contemporary left-Schmittians create a theory of domestic and international politics that are either normatively or institutionally deficient.

Keywords: Jürgen Habermas, Carl Schmitt, Chantal Mouffe, Gopal Balakrishnan, Andreas Kaylvas, Koselleck, Western Left, democracy, constitutionalism

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