The Language of Postwar Intellectual Schmittianism

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Pankakoski , T 2018 , ' The Language of Postwar Intellectual Schmittianism ' , The European Legacy , vol. 23 , no. 6 , pp. 607-627 .

Title: The Language of Postwar Intellectual Schmittianism
Author: Pankakoski, Timo
Contributor organization: Centre for European Studies
Date: 2018
Language: eng
Number of pages: 21
Belongs to series: The European Legacy
ISSN: 1084-8770
Abstract: The article analyzes the work of Hanno Kesting, Reinhart Koselleck, Roman Schnur, and Nicolaus Sombartfour young followers of Carl Schmitt in postwar Germany. Their intellectual Schmittianism was less than a full commitment to Schmitt's political positions, yet had more than an arbitrary similarity with them: it pertained to assumptions, categories, and modes of thought. Drawing on Pocock's terminology, I identify a particular language of intellectual Schmittianism, introduce its key components, and analyze their interaction. I focus on six categories derived from Schmitt's narrative of European political modernity: discrimination, historical parallels, secularization, global civil war, open/latent civil war, and category blurs. The analysis shows that these categories were interlinked argumentative devices rather than mere rhetoric and that they systematically upheld the postwar scholars' arguments. While the Schmittian language enabled the young scholars to express their political skepticism without necessarily rejecting the newly adopted institutional forms, it also constrained their choices. Linguistic resources can always be used for novel purposes, yet the dense internal structure of the language of postwar intellectual Schmittianism hindered revaluation and selective utilization. Kesting excluded, the young scholars gradually grew critical of Schmitt to varying degrees, but they never directly confronted his problematic language.
Subject: Political theory
postwar Germany
Carl Schmitt
Hanno Kesting
Reinhart Koselleck
Roman Schnur
Nicolaus Sombart
5201 Political History
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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