Viral Politics: Jacques Derrida's reading of Auto-immunity and Carl Schmitt

Andy Johnson
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Since Jacques Derrida’s 1989 essay “Force of Law: the Mystical Foundations of Authority,” Carl Schmitt has been a perennial subject of Derrida’s political critique. I will argue that Derrida’s concept of auto-immunity is uniquely applicable to Derrida’s interpretation of Schmitt’s political philosophy. Therefore, my argument will consist of two interrelated but equally divergent parts; the digressive structure will attempt to mimic Derrida’s complex style of weaving opposed concepts into a coherent whole. First, I will demonstrate the many forms of Derrida’s concept of auto-immunity. Second, I will exhibit how this schema uniquely applies to Derrida’s criticisms of Schmitt and the contemporary state of politics
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