Carl Schmitt’s definition of sovereignty as authorized leadership

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Reading Political Theology in light of the later developed concrete-order thinking, this essay draws attention to the understanding of law, which allows Schmitt to present the sovereign as simultaneously standing inside and outside the legal order. In addition, the particular way of ordering the political community, which Schmitt’s notion of sovereignty advances, is also explored. The essay suggests that the truly problematic feature of Schmitt’s notion of sovereignty, is not its purported a-, extra-, or illegality, but the hierarchical structure of authority presupposed by it, the function of which is to control who can speak in the name of the people and negotiate the character of the socio-legal order.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe contemporary relevance of Carl Schmitt: law, politics, theology
EditorsMatilda Arvidsson, Leila Brännström, Panu Minkinnen
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781138822931
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Law
  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • concrete-order thought
  • the exception
  • decisionism
  • Carl Schmitt
  • sovereignty
  • conceptions of law
  • allmän rättslära
  • jurisprudence


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