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Theory of the Partisan

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  142 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), one of the great legal and political thinkers of the 20th century, thought long and hard about the role and significance of war. He saw how the international law of the Eurocentric era of world history began to falter at the end of World War I and foundered at the end of World War II. Following World War II, belligerent acts around the world began ...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published October 25th 2007 by Ingram (first published 1962)
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April 2010

Who is, was, and will be, the Partisan?

This book, the 'Theory of the Partisan', grew out of two lectures delivered March of 1962, fittingly, in Spain. I say 'fittingly' because it was in Spain, during the resistance to Napoleon, that we first encounter the full figure of the partisan fighter. Schmitt observes that 'regular' warfare (which is contrasted with the irregular warfare of the partisan throughout this text) only emerged with (that is, in opposition to) Napoleon and the
Rui Coelho
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Somewhat relevant on the 60s and 70s, not so much today. This text will live in the shadow of The Concept of the Political, a true classic.
Wissam Raji
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
The book discusses the theory of a partisan and its origin that started in the Spain back in 1801. He gives a description of what a partisan is in terms of internal motives and external adaptation. The book in some way might seem trivial and not supported by logical arguments but once one refers to commentary on the ideas from outside sources, things connect.
Ian Fleischmann
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: political
While I appreciate the intellectual exercise in defining the nebulous space between soldier and terrorist, I'm not sure Schmitt makes his point. Perhaps it is the translation but the complicated language is difficult to overcome. I did learn the definitions for autochthonous, acherontic, and telluric though… Also, he has structured his historical inquiry by topic-point, not time, meaning he frequently jumps back and forth between 1813, 1870, 1914, and 1941 among others. He also loves tangents. T ...more
Colm Gillis
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
"This interested third party is not some banal figure like the proverbially laughing third party. It belongs rather, and essentially, to the situation of the partisan, and thus also to his theory. The powerful third party delivers not only weapons and munitions, money, material assistance, and medicines of every description, he offers also the sort of political recognition of which the irregularly fighting partisan is in need, in order to avoid falling like the thief and the pirate into the unpoli ...more
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting exploration how the modern theory of partisan replaces classical humanistic idea of regulated war and just enemy with absolute war and absolute enemy, who is delegitimated to the extent humanity itself is denied to him. However, at least in my laic view, the abstract juristic approach dissolves into chaotic observations of discrepancies between reality and law theory, as demonstrated for instance in discussing rather absurd question whether partisan is insurable.
Cihan Koseoglu
Jan 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Read in one sitting. The hypothesis (well, theory) is solid and the author knows his point. However he might be the worst writer of all times. He doesn't know how to hold an audience and convey his points in a clear way. A friend of mine questioned my view as 'we humans stopped reading hard books we should read more hard books'. It's not that at all. He's a horrible writer.
Nora W
Jul 12, 2015 added it
Shelves: bowdoin
Read during Professor Elias's Weapons of the Weak class, Freshman Fall.
Sep 13, 2003 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
Decent foundation for the theory of a "partisan," i.e. a rebel or terrorist force. Somewhat repetitive and pretentious.
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A historical overview of the partisan's political development. A valuable study for what it says, specially in getting to a definition of the partisan, but also for what it hints to.
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Carl Schmitt's early career as an academic lawyer falls into the last years of the Wilhelmine Empire. (See for Schmitt's life and career: Bendersky 1983; Balakrishnan 2000; Mehring 2009.) But Schmitt wrote his most influential works, as a young professor of constitutional law in Bonn and later in Berlin, during the Weimar-period: Political Theology, presenting Schmitt's theory of sovereignty, appe ...more
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