Promise and Failure: Nationalism in the Interwar Thought of Carl Schmitt and Eric Voegelin

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Abstract

This article analyses the role played by the concept of nation in the interwar writings of Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) and Eric Voegelin (1901–1985). It contends that, although these conservative thinkers were drawn in different ways to the anti-progressive potential of nationalist ideas, the centre of their political and theoretical horizons in that period is occupied by the problems of political unity and authority. Therefore, their nationalism is fundamentally determined by, and instrumental to, their adherence to a monistic and authoritarian conception of the state. This, in turn, leads them to embrace, with more or less reservations, the solutions put forward by the emergent far-right “strongmen” to the interwar crisis of liberal democracy. Each in their own way, the two authors tested the porous borders between conservatism, nationalism, and fascism—a topic whose scholarly and political relevance is far from being exhausted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
ISSN1356-9317
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5171 Political Science
  • Nationalism
  • radical conservatism
  • authoritarianism
  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • History of Political Thought
  • 611 Philosophy
  • Continental Political Philosophy

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