Rowman and Littlefield International

The End of Law

Carl Schmitt in the Twenty-First Century

By William E. Scheuerman

4 Reviews

Scholarly and political interest in the controversial 20th Century German thinker Carl Schmitt has exploded in the last twenty years. This volume, focusing directly on Schmitt’s complex ideas about law, situates his views within broader debates about the rule of law and its fate, taking seriously his Nazi-era political and legal writings.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786611543 Release date: Oct 2019
£104.00 €126.00 $135.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781786611550 Release date: Oct 2019
£35.00 €41.95 $44.95
Ebook ISBN: 9781786611567 Release date: Oct 2019
£29.95 €41.95 $42.50

Pages: 358


Scholarly and political interest in the work of the controversial twentieth century German thinker Carl Schmitt has exploded in the 20 years since William E. Scheuerman’s important book was first published. However, Scheuerman’s work remains distinctive. Firstly, it focuses directly on Schmitt’s complex ideas about law, situating his views within broader debates about the rule of law and its fate. The volume shows how every facet of his political thinking was decisively shaped by his legal reflections. Secondly, the volume takes Schmitt’s Nazi-era political and legal writings no less seriously. Finally, the volume offers a series of studies on figures in postwar US political thought (Friedrich Hayek and Joseph Schumpeter), demonstrating how Schmitt shaped their own influential theories. This timely second edition underscores how and why the recent growth of interest in Schmitt has been prompted by political developments, for example, debates about counterterrorism and emergency government, and the rise of authoritarian populism.



Introduction: Why Carl Schmitt?

Part One: The Jurisprudence of Lawlessness

1. The Crisis of Legal Indeterminacy

2. The Decay of Parliamentarism

3. The Critique of Liberal Constitutionalism

4. The Total State

5. After Legal Indeterminacy?

6. Indeterminacy and International Law

Epilogue to Part One: Carl Schmitt in the Aftermath of the German Catastrophe

Part Two: Carl Schmitt in America

7. Carl Schmitt and the Origins of Joseph Schumpeter’s Theory of Democratic Elitism

8. The Unholy Alliance of Carl Schmitt and Friedrich A. Hayek

Part Three: Carl Schmitt’s Twenty-First Century

9. States of Emergency

10. Counterterrorism

11. States of Emergency Beyond the Nation State?

Conclusion: Carl Schmitt Now?



William E. Scheuerman is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Indiana University.

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4 Reviews

Twenty years ago, Scheuerman’s account of Schmitt’s political theory questioned the political consequences of CLS and other radical criticisms of the tradition of democratic legalism. The new chapters for this much-needed second edition take the argument further, showing how Schmitt’s ideas of emergency and sovereignty undermined law and democracy in the name of one-man, patriarchal rule.

Peter C. Caldwell, Samuel G. McCann Professor, Rice University

We live in dangerous times which is why Schmitt—perhaps the most dangerous mind of the twentieth century—has proved so attractive to scholars across the political spectrum. In this update of his pathbreaking The End of Law, Scheuerman explains the power of Schmitt’s insights while brilliantly exposing the hazards involved in accepting the arguments of this disingenuous academic.

David Dyzenhaus, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Toronto

William Scheuerman writes with almost astonishing clarity about the notably complex, controversial, and, for better or worse, undoubtedly important Carl Schmitt. The clarity extends to Scheuerman’s own arguments, which allows the reader to engage in a stimulating dialogue with both Schmitt and Scheuerman. Few books are more important at the present time, when liberal democracy is under increased attack (and in need of thoughtful defenses like Scheuerman’s).

Sanford Levinson, co-author (with Jack Balkin) of Democracy and Dysfunction

The key themes of Schmitt’s political theory are best understood as responses to a fundamental question about legality: To what extent can and should legal or constitutional norms bind and program political decision-taking? Few books engage with Schmitt’s treatment of this issue as successfully as The End of Law. The updated edition of this definitive work is highly welcome.

Lars Vinx, Lecturer in Jurisprudence, University of Cambridge, UK

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