POLIS Research Seminar Series: “Does the state of exception secure sovereignty?”
Postgraduate Researcher Sam Mace presented this talk as part of the Research Seminar Series hosted by the School of Politics and International Studies. The model of the state of exception that the paper uses is Carl Schmitt’s. Scholars such as Wolin (1990) and Suganami (2007) have noted his famous quotation “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception” (Schmitt pg. 4 2005). This is accompanied by Schmitt’s claim of the ‘sovereign god’ who can create ‘miracles’ by overriding the state at will, therefore placing sovereignty in the hands of the sovereign who can affect concrete change (Baume 2009). The model of sovereignty the paper uses is based off Caporaso’s model of sovereign features. Caporaso (2000) locates his sovereign features within the Westphalian framework i.e. states possessing ultimate sovereignty inside their own territorial borders. The sovereign traits that Caporaso outlines are power, territoriality, authority, and citizenship. The paper argues that by using the exception on a regular basis this undermines these sovereign traits and thus undermines sovereignty. The paper also adopts Benjamin’s critique of Schmitt’s sovereign god. Thiem (2013) highlights that Benjamin’s critique of the omnipotent god due to the weakness of man no one person could possibly that position (Thiem 2013). By exercising decisionism, the 'sovereign god' is unable to fulfil the sovereign traits necessary to effectively exercise sovereignty over a state.
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1/4/2021 4:40:40 PM

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