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This chapter examines jury nullification, through which American juries refuse to convict criminal defendants in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt to express…
This chapter examines jury nullification, through which American juries refuse to convict criminal defendants in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt to express disapproval of specific criminal laws or of their application to particular defendants, through the political theory of Carl Schmitt. It distinguishes liberal components of American jurisprudence, especially the rule of law, from democratic sovereignty, and shows how the two are in deep tension with one another. In light of this tension it argues that jury nullification amounts to democratic sovereignty applied counter to the liberal state in a way that paradoxically upholds individual liberty.
Imperial crisis is the analytical axis on which turn two national states of emergency: the Weimar Republic (1918–1933) and the United States on the so-called “Eve of…
Imperial crisis is the analytical axis on which turn two national states of emergency: the Weimar Republic (1918–1933) and the United States on the so-called “Eve of Destruction” (1965–1975). But while Max Weber disagreed with Carl Schmitt with respect to the problem of sovereignty at the core of the German imperium, American sociologists – even those inspired by Weber – by and large did not register the gravity of the moment of political decision in their work, or the imperial crisis that their country faced during the Vietnam War and its aftermath. This essay offers ideas regarding why this was so, what the consequences have been for American sociology, and how, in the midst of the present-day imperial and domestic governmental crisis, we might adopt a more expansive view.
In a series of mid-20th century cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has modified and diversified the status of the enemy in U.S. law. We see a shift away from the statist…
In a series of mid-20th century cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has modified and diversified the status of the enemy in U.S. law. We see a shift away from the statist egalitarian model toward a transnationalized model of enemies. U.S. Supreme Court decisions in three clusters of cases (German enemy aliens, the internment of the West Coast Japanese Americans, and Communist) from the 1940s and 1950s prefigure the radicalized post-9/11 “enemy combatant” status. The choice for such enemy conceptions is both a result of and a contribution to the changes in contemporary practices of violence.
The aim of this chapter is to argue that charisma is a collective representation, and that charismatic authority is a social status that derives more from the…
The aim of this chapter is to argue that charisma is a collective representation, and that charismatic authority is a social status that derives more from the “recognition” of the followers than from the “magnetism” of the leaders. I contend further that a close reading of Max Weber shows that he, too, saw charisma in this light.
I develop my argument by a close reading of many of the most relevant texts on the subject. This includes not only the renowned texts on this subject by Max Weber, but also many books and articles that interpret or criticize Weber’s views.
I pay exceptionally close attention to key arguments and texts, several of which have been overlooked in the past.
Writers for whom charisma is personal magnetism tend to assume that charismatic rule is natural and that the full realization of democratic norms is unlikely. Authority, in this view, emanates from rulers unbound by popular constraint. I argue that, in fact, authority draws both its mandate and its energy from the public, and that rulers depend on the loyalty of their subjects, which is never assured. So charismatic claimants are dependent on popular choice, not vice versa.
I advocate a “culturalist” interpretation of Weber, which runs counter to the dominant “personalist” account. Conventional interpreters, under the sway of theology or mass psychology, misread Weber as a romantic, for whom charisma is primal and undemocratic rule is destiny. This essay offers a counter-reading.
Political economy is a term in wide use and has been for centuries. Yet standard economic theory reduces politics to ethics or economics. This reduction is enabled by the…
Political economy is a term in wide use and has been for centuries. Yet standard economic theory reduces politics to ethics or economics. This reduction is enabled by the presumption of closed choice data or given utility and cost functions. In this conceptual framework, the political vanishes into an activity of preference satisfaction according to a welfare function (ethics) or into trade (economics). To bring the political back to life within a theory of political economy requires that closed schemes of thought be replaced by open schemes. The ways in which individuals react to the indeterminacy of their subjective choice data, in innocuous small-scale settings as well as in situations of dramatic exception to constitutional rules, separates them into leaders and followers. Followership creates an opportunity for political enterprise at the social level (enterprise in rules) and at the subjective level (enterprise in visions of options, and hence preferences). At both levels the political comes to the fore of political economy as an answer to the “challenge of exception.” Much of our inspiration for this argument traces to the work of Friedrich Wieser, Carl Schmitt, and Vincent Ostrom.
Toward the end of the 20th century, some work within political theory, of a kind that primarily foregrounds ethical considerations and another kind within political…
Toward the end of the 20th century, some work within political theory, of a kind that primarily foregrounds ethical considerations and another kind within political geography that links such ethical concerns to explication in terms of social space, territoriality and scale, has resuscitated the notion of contingent universality as an alternative to the either/or embrace or rejection of universality (and consequent denigration/celebration of particularity). As witnessed by the so-called spatial turn in many of the social and cultural sciences, this very circumstance, at least in the English-speaking world, has been one wellspring of current interdisciplinary interest in various geographical concepts and traditions. For political geographers, the idea of contingent universality arguably invites a fecund perspective from which to reflect upon a range of substantive and epistemological outcomes, which this essay will argue, are densely bound up in what, in short hand, is labeled globalization.
This is an essay that will be misinterpreted. Before I even mention genocidal rights, I want to make clear what my argument is not. First, my argument is not that genocide has not happened or does not continue to happen. Second, I will not suggest that genocide is not a serious crime. Finally, I will not try to develop a theory of victimhood – to challenge the centrality of the victim in discussions of genocide. Rather, my interest here will be the uncomfortably intimate relationship between genocidal violence on the one hand and the elaboration of civil, sovereign, and human rights on the other.
This chapter discusses the evolution of German views on public debt 1850–1920, referring to three strands of secondary literature: (1) German retrospectives on public…
This chapter discusses the evolution of German views on public debt 1850–1920, referring to three strands of secondary literature: (1) German retrospectives on public finance, (2) the historical literature with a public choice perspective, and (3) contributions to public/constitutional law, mainly referring to Lorenz von Stein. The skeptic view of public debt endorsed by authors of the second half of the period is shown to be related to politico-economic issues of state agency combined with new state functions, rather than to the rejection of Dietzel’s Proto-Keynesian macroeconomic reasoning.
This article examines Max Weber’s theory of value spheres as a basis for a polytheistic religious sociology of institutional life. Weber’s approach implies institutional…
This article examines Max Weber’s theory of value spheres as a basis for a polytheistic religious sociology of institutional life. Weber’s approach implies institutional theory as a form of comparative religion. Two problems present themselves. If the values of the spheres are to be considered as “gods,” they do not align easily with Weber’s sociology of religion. Given that love was central both as a driver and a constituent in Weber’s understanding of salvation religions, it also implies that love be incorporated into our theorizing of institutional life, something entirely absent in the way we think about enduring forms of social organization. Taking the second seriously may enable us to fabricate a solution to the first.