ABSTRACT

Carl Schmitt’s political ontology is founded on the relationship and interpenetration of three concepts: sovereignty, the political, and the exception. Not only do these three concepts interpenetrate one another, they are symbiotic-none can exist without the others. For Schmitt, the sovereign individual is “he who decides upon the exception.”2 The political group is the “decisive entity” and, therefore, the entity that decides upon the exception and is the exception.3 Schmitt’s understanding of sovereignty is one that requires action-there must be a decision and social separation-a thing is categorically diff erent. The sovereign is simultaneously exception and example; he or she stands apart from the group, but is always ever linked to the group. The sovereign is unique, just like everyone else, but assumes responsibility for his or unique character vis-à-vis others. The sovereign can and does form political relationships.