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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In many of his political writings, Carl Schmitt seeks to render conflict and struggle visible and recognizable. He wages a metapolitical struggle against depoliticizing types of spirit and for the political. The meaning of history, as this chapter shows, is a crucial terrain for this metapolitical struggle: friends and enemies are symbolized and rendered (in)visible through historical discourses. The analysis demonstrates that Schmitt strongly rejects representations of history that tend to obfuscate its political nature, such as ideologies of progress or the idea of repetition in history. Instead, he advocates a sober and profane image of history, acknowledging its plural and contingent nature. Paradoxically, a figure of theological provenance, the katechon, is the minimal rest of an eschatological vision that Schmitt considers necessary to keep history and theology apart and to maintain an open and profane understanding of history.

Keywords: Carl Schmitt, historical meaning, the political, depoliticization, historical singularity, historical repetition, katechon, political theology

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