author or editor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, The Blackwell Companion toSocial Theory, and The Sage Handbook of Sociology. He is a founding editor of the journals Body & Society, Citizenship Studies, and Journal of Classical Sociology. Turner comes to the GC from Wellesley College, where he was Alona Evans DistinguishedVisiting Professor; he is also professor of social and political thought at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds and has beenawarded the Doctor of Letters from both Flinders University in South Australia and theUniversity of Cambridge.http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/new_faculty/Turner.htm
The Sovereignty of the Political
Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism
S. Parvez Manzoor
Ironically, at a time when the liberal state and its attendant secularism seem to have totallytriumphed over all their rivals, the political theorist is no longer insistent upon banishing themetaphysical from his discourse. In fact, there is a growing trend to make a distinction between
between agency and regime, that allows the metaphysical a legitimaterole in the definition of political identity. (The same fascination with philosophy, and protestagainst restrictive empiricism, is noticeable in other intellectual milieus, as evidenced by theoccurrence of parallel terminology in French (
) and German (
).) Politics, according to this scheme, denotes the realm of partisanpower struggles and is amenable to empirical research; the political, on the contrary, alludes tothe quasi-metaphysical and transcendent bid to assign meaning and symbolic import to the
; the former translates into
, the latter into
. This re-enchantment of the'postmodern' political conscience, as it were, is not a gift of fundamentalism, nor does it displaya longing for any theocratic scheme of things. On the contrary, it is the discovery of themutuality of the existential and the transcendent orders of political reality, the symbiosis of
that has been instrumental in restoring the unity of politics and ontology.
Works Discussed in this Essay:The Concept of the Political.
By Carl Schmitt. Tr. by George Schwab. The Rutger Universitypress, New Brunnswick/New Jersey, 1976. Pp. 104.
Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty.
By Carl Schmitt. Tr. byGeorge Schwab. Cambridge, Massachuesetts, The MIT Press, 1985. Pp. 70.