The fundamental importance of theology in the work of Carl Schmitt has been the subject of much recent literature on this controversial figure. However, there has been little consensus on the precise nature of Schmitt's own political theologydecisionisminstitutional thinking,” in order to reveal the theological basis for his understanding of the new regime. I will then argue that Schmitt's institutional approach had in fact always been central to his earlier, better-known writings on law and the state. Schmitt's concept of the (...) institution, which had roots in French legal theory, grounded a political theology that was in the end less a metaphysical approach to the state than one that drew on the concrete example of the legal institutional order of the Catholic Church. (shrink)
The digital revolution invites a reconsideration of the very essence of politics. How can we think about decision, control, and will at a time when technologies of automation are transforming every dimension of human life, from military combat to mental attention, from financial systems to the intimate lives of individuals? This article looks back to a moment in the 20th century when the concept of the political as an independent logic was developed, in a time when the boundaries and operations (...) of the classic state were in question. At the same moment, a whole new technological era was opened up with the emergence of intelligent machines and computers in the postwar cybernetic age. Technology, and cybernetics in particular, loomed large in Carl Schmitt’s articulation of the concept of the political, while the problem of radical open decision was at the heart of influential cybernetic approaches to politics. Linking these was the idea of entropic decay. Schmitt’s invocation of the theological concept of the Katechon, who restrains chaos in the time before Christ’s return, in fact exemplifies the new understandings of order in a cybernetic age facing new challenges of technology in a globalized condition. (shrink)
Hannah Arendt's existential, republican concept of politics spurned Carl Schmitt's idea that enmity constituted the essence of the political. Famously, she isolated the political sphere from social conflict, sovereign regimes, and the realm of military violence. While some critics are now interested in applying Arendt's more abstract political ideas to international affairs, it has not been acknowledged that her original reconceptualization of politics was in fact driven by her analysis of global war, and in particular, the startling new challenges raised (...) by nuclear warfare. Arendt's early, unpublished manuscript on the nature of politics contains important reflections on the nature of war and empire. Surprisingly, these reflections tentatively explore the relationship between war and political freedom. A close reading of this work on war can help explain both her later, more radical non-violent concept of political action, and the difficulties she faced integrating her existential republicanism within the global context of conflict in the Cold War. (shrink)
Returning to the origin stories that informed the beginnings of political community, Bates reclaims the idea of law, warfare, and the social order as intertwining elements subject to complex historical development.
Collingwood has often been depicted as a neglected and isolated thinker whose original ideas on the contextual nature of truth anticipated important trends in postwar thought. The spiritual aspects of his thought, however, have often been problematic, precisely because they seem to conflict with his more influential ideas. Although Collingwood's overtly theological and metaphysical writing can be safely confined to an early, perhaps even juvenile phase of his career, the spiritual dimension of some of his later work, including, for example, (...) the famous doctrine of reenactment, has often been marginalized, repressed, or domesticated in order to preserve Collingwood's historical place in twentieth-century philosophy of history. This radical conflict continues to disrupt both the reception of Collingwood's ideas and attempts to contextualize them historically. However, if the spiritual and theological nature of Collingwood's thought is taken seriously, and not marginalized, it is hard to see his career as discrete stages of development. The problem of transcendent identity was a central concern for Collingwood throughout his career, and it unifies much of his thinking on divergent topics. The problematic idea of reenactment actually opens up a complex connection in Collingwood's thought between ethical action, historical time, and our relationship with divine reality. It is this rediscovery of Collingwood's spiritual ideas on history that leads to a reevaluation of his own historical context, for it becomes clear that these ideas were neither eccentric nor old-fashioned. The problems Collingwood was addressing link him with a much broader movement of European thought in the interwar period, one that was trying to mediate transcendent reality and concrete historicity in a situation of crisis and fragmentation. (shrink)
This paper critically examines how senior figures in the UK Labour Party and wider labour movement discussed the topic of immigration in the immediate aftermath of the UK's vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Influenced by the Discourse Historical Approach, the paper is based on an analysis of 86 public interventions by Labour figures, over a 6-month period, delivered in speeches, articles and essays. The paper examines argumentative strategies adopted by Labour figures – including Members of Parliament, advisors (...) and trade union leaders – who called for stronger immigration controls from an avowedly ‘left-wing’ perspective. Foregrounding their commitment to progressive politics, Labour politicians argued that restricting the number of migrants entering Britain was democratic, anti-racist and an expression of the Labour Party's commitment to the interests of working-class people. Nevertheless, it is the contention of this paper that the Labour Party's rhetoric tapped into right-wing populist discourses which constructed immigration as a threat to the racialised privileges of a ‘white’ working class. (shrink)
As austerity measures are put into place the world over and global restructuring is acknowledged by all as an attempt to bolster the economic system that lead to the crash, there is a great need to come to grips with the economic, political and philosophical legacy of Marx. Of particular interest are Marx's analyses of alienation and the cycles of boom and bust thought to be integral to the functioning of capitalism. Moreover, as the Cold War drifts into the history (...) books, it is possible to reconsider the lasting impact of Marx's analyses without the shadows cast by the Soviet version of communism. Equally, though, scholars are increasingly turning to Marx for insight into the rise of religion and the corresponding demise of political ideologies that seems to mark the contemporary age. Are we witnessing 'the return of Marx'? Few scholars have done as much to tease out the intricacies of Marx, ideology and religion and their overlapping concerns as the eminent writer and Marx biographer, Professor David McLellan. This book brings together a group of internationally renowned academics to reflect upon, develop and criticise McLellan's analyses of these three themes with a view to contributing more broadly to scholarly debates in these fields. This exciting and timely analysis will be of interest to scholars of political theory, the history of political thought, Marx and Marxism, sociology of knowledge, religion and theology more widely. (shrink)
Frank Barlow was Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Exeter. His numerous publications include fifteen books and scholarly editions, of which many have turned out to be of quite exceptional long-term importance. Barlow was a Fellow of the British Academy. Obituary by David Bates.
ABSTRACTThis paper situates the discourse of the Occupy movement within the context of radical political philosophy. Our analysis takes place on two levels. First, we conduct an empirical analysis of the ‘official’ publications of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London. Operationalising core concepts from the framing perspective within social movement theory, we provide a descriptive-comparative analysis of the ‘collective action frames’ of OWS and OL. Second, we consider the extent to which radical political philosophy speaks to the discourse of Occupy. (...) Our empirical analysis reveals that both movements share diagnostic frames, but there were notable differences in terms of prognostic framing. The philosophical discussion suggests that there are alignments between anarchist, post-anarchist and post-Marxist ideologies at the level of both identity and strategy. Indeed, the absence of totalising anti-capitalist or anti-statist positions in Occupy suggests that – particularly with Occupy London – alignments are perhaps not so distant from typically social democratic demands. (shrink)
The eighteenth-century is usually looked to as the theoretical source for modern concepts of constitutionality, those political and legal forms that limit conflict. And yet the eighteenth century was also a period of almost constant war, within Europe and in the new global spaces of colonial rule. Though it is well known that new concepts of international law emerged in this period, surprisingly few commentators have established what connections there are between the violence of war and the elaboration of new (...) ideas about constitutional limit. I will show that war played a crucial role in the Enlightenment invention of a modern existential concept of the political, where the violence of constitution was understood to be foundational. (shrink)