A piece on Carl Schmitt's polemical definition of neutral space in Critical Inquiry

Posted: June 3, 2021

“How to remain Human in the Wrong Space? A comment on a dialog by Carl Schmitt” Critical Inquiry Vol 47 Summer 2021 pp. 699-718.
To become aware of the depth of the ecological mutation, one has to criticize the notion of abstract space to let it being generated by connections among overlapping life forms. It turns out that in many of his works, Carl Schmitt has found ways to politicize the production of neutral depoliticized space. This is especially true in a not so well known dialog between three characters, a scientist, a manager and an old historian “Dialogue on New Space” published in Dialogues on Power and Space. The dynamic of this dialog summarizes Schmitt’s earlier works, but it also trying to relate, audaciously, the character of being human with the different conceptions of space entertained by each protagonist of the dialog. Especially important in the plot is the interpretation of the expression of “unencumbered technology” that Schmitt associates with the destiny of liberalism and the sort of spatial domination ad infinitum that it implies. The final point of the dialog being that you cannot be really “human” in the “wrong” space! The paper does not pretend to make Schmitt a thinker of ecology, but to extract from his highly peculiar critique of space, something that could be useful to help criticize a depoliticized notion of “green space”. Landing on Earth and being just like the old historian reprensenting Schmitt, locked down in it entails a different vision of space.