On Schmitt and Space: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

On Schmitt and Space

1st Edition

By Claudio Minca, Rory Rowan


286 pages

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This book represents the first comprehensive study of the influential German legal and political thinker Carl Schmitt’s spatial thought, offering the first systematic examination from a Geographic perspective of one of the most important political thinkers of the twentieth century.

It charts the development of Schmitt’s spatial thinking from his early work on secularization and the emergence of the modern European state to his post war analysis of the spatial basis of global order and international law, whilst situating his thought in relation to his changing biographical and intellectual context, controversial involvement in Weimar politics and disastrous support for the Nazi regime. It argues that spatial concepts play a crucial structural role throughout Schmitt’s work, from his well-known analyses of sovereign power and states of exception to his often overlooked spatial history of modernity. Locating a fundamental relationship between space and ‘the political’ lies at the core of his thought.

The book explores the critical insight that Schmitt’s spatial thought bears on some of the key political questions of the twentieth century whilst tracking his profound and enduring influence on key debates on sovereignty, international relations, war and the nature of world order at the start of the twenty first century.


"Minca and Rowan show in great detail that Schmitt was a deeply spatial thinker and argue very persuasively that his multi-layered spatial understanding of politics remains a source of useful insights in the 21st century. In the process, they also provide a model well worth emulating of how to approach 'tainted' thinkers without either whitewashing their misdeeds or needlessly jettisoning their real contributions."

-- Professor Matthew Hannah, Chair of Cultural Geography, Geographic Institute, University of Bayreuth

"Carl Schmitt’s writings have had an outsized, and often misunderstood, influence on the spatial turn in political theory, as well as the philosophical turn in political geography. By reading Schmitt’s oeuvre as an ongoing quest for spatial order, Minca and Rowan offer a new and comprehensive entry point for understanding, and critiquing, one of the 20th century’s most important political thinkers."

-- Professor Philip Steinberg, Professor of Political Geography and Director of IBRU: Centre for Borders Research, Durham University

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Writing Carl Schmitt 2. The Return of Carl Schmitt 3. Spatializing the Political 4. Liberal Leviathan 5. Nazi Behemoth 6. Groβraum 7. Spatial Histories 8. A New Nomos of the Earth? Conclusion

About the Authors

Claudio Minca is Professor and Head of Cultural Geography at Wegeningen University, the Netherlands.

Rory Rowan is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General