CfP: Carl Schmitt as a pioneer of security policy?

Posted on Posted in calls, International Relations, Security policy

In times of ubiquitous collective threats—such as terrorist attacks, world economic crises, mass migration, religious and ethnic conflicts, and maybe even ecological catastrophes—in which the exceptional state increasingly seems to become persistent (G. Agamben), the demand for security as a social value as well as a goal of political action is the pivot of public debate. In this situation Carl Schmitt, the “Theorist of the exception”, is considered as “author of the hour” (R. Mehring).

Security is not only an universally shared social value and content of policy programs (keyword: security policy), but also an analytical concept of law and social sciences. In its current use the concept of security is usually distinguished from uncertainties or risks (such as the risk of being hit by terrorist attacks) to avoid or minimize it through scientific knowledge.

It is often overlooked that these conceptions are by no means following purely objective criteria. As a look at the conceptual history shows, the contemporary concept of the security has reached its peak between the world wars and the takeover of social welfare reform plans in the Anglo-American space. As a result, the older meaning of the concept of security as state protection against violence which requires obedience (W. Conze) is replaced by a claim to—in the widest sense—social security (F.-X. Kaufmann).

Parallel to the rise of the concept of security to a welfare key concept one can observe attempts in international law to establish a global system of collective security. Here, too, a characteristic change of meaning can be stated. The concept of collective security is increasingly replacing the older concept of peace (F.-X. Kaufmann). At the same time this changes the meaning of war. While wars waged only as defensive ones hardly occur, national, regional, and even global strife increase the risk of violent conflicts (Carl Schmitt speaks of “non-wars”), which are increasingly asymmetrical. The aggravation of the problem on precaution against possible risks finally meets the two sketched lines of the Conceptual history.

Carl-Schmitt-Studien is interested in contributions that investigate these developments in the light of Schmitt’s thinking. Is the ascent of the security concept to the guiding concept of the 20th and 21st century the continuation of the “age of neutralization and de-politicization” (Zeitalter der Neutralisierungen und Entpolitisierungen) in the sense of Schmitt? Or, are the tendencies of the criminalization of war (keyword: discriminatory war concept) and the politicization of crime (keyword: enemy criminal law), the militarization of the police and the “policitation” (Verpolizeilichung) of the military (keyword: military interventions and democracy promotion) rather signs of a re-politization? How is the supposed persistence of the state of exception related to Carl Schmitt’s concept of the Ernstfall? What can be under the conditions sketched above regarded as political action in the sense of Schmitt?

Which concrete political units—especially after Schmitt’s claim of the “end of the epoch of statehood” (Ende der Epoche der Staatlichkeit)—are possible relevant political or geopolitical actors of these processes? What are the consequences for constitutional law? How to assess approaches in political and cultural sciences that pursue security research in reference to “strategic cultures” or “security cultures”? Do the indicated scenarios lead to a foreseeable “historicization” (R. Mehring) of Schmitt’s concepts, that is their obsolescence, or rather to their realistic confirmation?

Submissions and deadline

The journal Carl-Schmitt-Studien will accept original contributions in the following languages: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German and English. Articles must not have more than 12,000 words, including references and footnotes. Papers should strictly follow the APA Style and adhere to the author guidelines found on our website at

Contributions can be submitted in .doc, .docx or .odt formats until the deadline February 15th, 2018. They should be sent after user registration via the online submission page of the website

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