There is an inherent tension between popular and establishment powers in political communities. With anti-establishment sentiment on the rise across Western democracies, exploring the underpinnings of this dualism and rethinking theories of political life within states is of paramount importance. By combining the theories of Carl Schmitt and Benedict Spinoza, this book develops a framework of continuous reproduction, whereby the two powers simultaneously hold one another in tension and supersede one another. In the same vein, political communities are shown to be perpetually caught in a cycle of creativity/contestation, derived primarily from Schmitt (the tragic groundlessness of politics) and limitation (derived primarily from Spinoza as a quasi-theological belief in the status quo).
Providing a novel theoretical framework explaining the workings of democratic politics, this book also offers a non-traditional reading of Spinoza and Schmitt. Whereas traditionally both have been treated as almost polar opposites, here they are held in creative tension, providing equally important building blocks for the proposed theory. By furthering their analysis, the author creates a new theory of political action.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Chapter 1 – The four elements of ordering. Chapter 2 – Spinoza: The Immanent Rationality of Order. Chapter 3 – Schmitt: The Theological Existentialism of the Borderline. Chapter 4 – The Four Elements of Ordering Revisited. Conclusion: Answering the Question of Ordering.
Ignas Kalpokas is currently a lecturer at LCC International University and Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania). He received his PhD from the University of Nottingham. His research and teaching covers the areas of international relations and international political theory, primarily with respect to sovereignty and globalisation of norms, identity and formation of political communities, political use of social media, and information warfare.
"Ignas Kalpokas’s carefully argued book shows us that political order is not a state of affairs, but a constant process of ordering. As he rightly argues, there is no final balance between creativity and limitation, and one cannot be privileged at the expense of the other. In short: we are never done with politics." - Lasse Thomassen, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Queen Mary University of London.