1st Edition

Constitutional Theory: Schmitt after Derrida

By Jacques de Ville Copyright 2017
    230 Pages
    by Birkbeck Law Press

    230 Pages
    by Birkbeck Law Press

    This book advances a new reading of the central works of Carl Schmitt and, in so doing, rethinks the primary concepts of constitutional theory. In this book, Jacques de Ville engages in a close analysis of a number of Schmitt’s texts, including Dictatorship (1921), The Concept of the Political (1927), Constitutional Theory (1928), Land and Sea (1942), Ex Captivitate Salus (1950), The Nomos of the Earth (1950) and The Theory of the Partisan (1963). This engagement takes place from the perspective of constitutional theory and focuses specifically on concepts or themes such as sovereignty, the state, the political, constituent power, democracy, representation, the constitution and human rights. The book seeks to rethink the structure of these concepts in line with Derrida’s analysis of Schmitt’s texts on the concept of the political in Politics of Friendship (1993). This happens by way of an analysis of Derrida’s engagement with Freud and other psychoanalysts. Although the main focus in the book is on Schmitt’s texts, it further examines two texts of Derrida (Khōra (1993) and Fors: The Anglish Words of Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok (1976)), by reading these alongside Schmitt’s own reflections on the positive concept of the constitution.

    1. Introduction

    2. The concept of the political

    a. Polemios

    b. Partisan

    c. Self

    3. Constituent power

    4. Identity and representation

    5. The concept of the constitution

    a. Khōra

    b. Crypt

    6. Human rights

    7. State, Groβraum, nomos

    8. Conclusion



    Jacques de Ville is Professor of Law at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

    In this important book, Jacques de Ville produces a series of deft and agile analyses of the engagement between Carl Schmitt (one of the most enduringly provocative political thinkers) and Jacques Derrida (perhaps the most penetrating recent textual reader). This work represents a major contribution to debates about political authority and political violence, in our most interesting times. Professor Nick Mansfield, Dean, Higher Degree Research, Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University

    Jacques de Ville develops an excellent and extensive approach, by revisiting in a masterful way the main themes and political concepts of Carl Schmitt's thought, in the light of the deconstructive analysis of Derrida. In this way, de Ville's approach constitutes also a valuable introduction to Derrida's complex thought, bringing the reader closer to the refined notions of his work. A brilliant combination of clarity and theoretical rigor, Prof. de Ville’s magnificent book harbors the promise of a new configuration, to come, of reflections and debates around constitutional theory. Beyond the borders of constitutional law, Jacques de Ville addresses the reader of human and social sciences to engage in the challenges stemming from the condition of a living together that, in an increasingly drastic rhythm, is marked by promise and danger, complexity and urgency. Prof. Dr. Paulo Cesar Duque-Estrada, Department of Philosophy, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)