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The dissociative and polemical political: Chantal Mouffe and the intellectual heritage of Carl Schmitt


Beckstein, Martin (2011). The dissociative and polemical political: Chantal Mouffe and the intellectual heritage of Carl Schmitt. Journal of Political Ideologies, 16(1):33-51.

Abstract

In her more recent work, Chantal Mouffe enters into what she calls a 'dialogue' with Carl Schmitt on the political. So far, interpretations of this dialogue suggest that Mouffe attempts to revise Schmitt's friend/enemy-distinction and carve out a theory of agonistic pluralism. An interpretation on these grounds, this article argues, reduces the dialogue to its analytical dimension and cannot comfortably be upheld. Mouffe indeed appropriates Schmitt's friend/enemy-distinction, but she also gets inspired by the metatheoretical facet of his intellectual heritage with the result that her theory becomes organically interwoven with a polemical dimension. Rather than aiming at a post-structuralist defanging of Schmitt's conception of the political, Mouffe recontextualizes and applies it to the current academic discourse, for this allows decontesting her radical pluralist cause by establishing a we/them opposition along a political/post-political divide.

In her more recent work, Chantal Mouffe enters into what she calls a 'dialogue' with Carl Schmitt on the political. So far, interpretations of this dialogue suggest that Mouffe attempts to revise Schmitt's friend/enemy-distinction and carve out a theory of agonistic pluralism. An interpretation on these grounds, this article argues, reduces the dialogue to its analytical dimension and cannot comfortably be upheld. Mouffe indeed appropriates Schmitt's friend/enemy-distinction, but she also gets inspired by the metatheoretical facet of his intellectual heritage with the result that her theory becomes organically interwoven with a polemical dimension. Rather than aiming at a post-structuralist defanging of Schmitt's conception of the political, Mouffe recontextualizes and applies it to the current academic discourse, for this allows decontesting her radical pluralist cause by establishing a we/them opposition along a political/post-political divide.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:February 2011
Deposited On:04 Nov 2011 13:41
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:04
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1356-9317
Publisher DOI:10.1080/13569317.2011.540941
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-50536

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