Legal Systemology and the Geopolitics of Roman Law: A Response to Stuart Elden’s Critique of Carl Schmitt’s Spatial Ontology

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Abstract

This paper explores the production, destruction, and reproduction of the geopolitical spaces of Roman law in order to offer an analysis of Schmitt’s (selective) notion of Jus Publicum Europaeum and its relevance to the current “depoliticization” and “dejuridification” of the world. By adopting a historical and geopolitical approach that reaches the boundaries of legal systemology and political theology, the present contribution investigates the manipulative and instrumentalist use of the material object of Rome’s (universalist) competence, namely the “territory” as dominium of its political intervention, which was ultimately (and idealistically) aimed at avoiding the natural destiny of any living being: birth, maturity, and death. Attention is therefore paid to the Roman strategy of (ontological?) contamination of its mythical identity through the legal and sociopolitical administration and regulation of its geographical spaces in terms of (non-)cultural signification. Through the analysis of such concepts as “nomos,” “Großraum,” “Ortung,” and “Ordnung,” it is claimed that Schmitt voluntarily chose to identify the Jus Publicum Europaeum with the geopolitical order produced during the Age of Discovery and not with the “comprehensive” Roman spatial order. The reason for this choice may be identified in the distortive use of Rome’s social relations and political allegiances that lay at the core of its genealogical expansionism (and subsequent inevitable dissolution) since the conquest of Veius in 396 BC and the historical compromise between patrician nobility and plebeians in 367 BC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-439
JournalPólemos - Journal of Law, Literature and Culture
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Carl Schmitt
  • Geopolitics
  • Roman law
  • Global Order

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