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Between Enemies and Friends: Carl Schmitt, Melanie Klein and the Passion(s) of the Political

Author(s): Isaac D. Balbus

Journal: Theoria and Praxis : International Journal of Interdisciplinary Thought
ISSN 2291-1286

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: The Political | Schmitt | Klein | Friends and Enemies | Sovereignty

Carl Schmitt’s claim to have demonstrated an unbreakable connection between sovereignty and the opposition between friends and enemies stands as an enduring challenge to the possibility of a politics that is free from in-group idealization and out-group demonization and the inevitably pernicious consequences that follow from this political-psychological split. In this paper I take up this challenge by relying on, and extending, the psychoanalytic assumptions of Melanie Klein to identify the common yet contingent psychological preconditions of this “Schmittian” connection, and thus to begin to clarify the conditions under which it could be broken. In locating what might be called the “relative truth” of Schmitt’s position, Klein turns out to be neither entirely an enemy nor entirely a friend of Carl Schmitt.
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