Decision and plurality: the specificity of the political in Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt


Gurel, Ozgur Emrah




This thesis tries to analyze the critics of liberal understanding of political community and democracy from the point of Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt. Even though they were both criticizing the liberal philosophy for destroying the specificity of politics in the society, Schmitt's analysis suggests a total conceptualization of politics by concentrating on only a strong state (a strong-sovereign). There is no place for civic participation and dialogue in Schmitt's political philosophy. For Schmitt, homogeneity is the condition for the possibility of democracy. Moreover, he explicitly indicates that the state, as an ethical, univocal, transcendent and comprehensive unit, has the right to demand from its members the readiness to die. However Arendt's endeavor is to formulate the "Socratic" formation of modern citizenship and different ways of participation and dialogue for the re-construction of public sphere (a strong-constitution). Her conception of politics is in fact based on the idea of active citizenship, that is, on the value and importance of civic engagement and collective deliberation about all matters affecting the political community. I think, by examining Arendt's suggestions and critics, it is not Utopian to indicate that there are still possibilities for the civic virtue, political equality and particularly the new dimensions of active citizenship in the formation of post-politics for our societies. My thesis tries to acknowledge that Arendt's aim could be a better way to comprehend the democratic implications of the specificity of the political against the arguments of the Schmittian-conservative analysis that tries to find a common substance for the ontology of politics. This thesis is also trying to claim that the very reality of the public realm emerges only through the robust communication of opinions emanating from a multitude of diverse perspectives. In this way, I hope to indicate that Arendt's conception remains important for contemporary attempts to revive the idea and the practice of democratic citizenship.


Schmitt, Carl, 1888-1985. -- Political and social views
Arendt, Hannah -- Political and social views
Political participation
Civil society
Cultural pluralism




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Economy

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Theses and Dissertations

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