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The Logic of the Exception


  • Klaus Kondrup Jakobsen

Summary, in English

Normally, we understand democracy and dictatorship as two separate forms of government. Actually, they are intertwined due to the state of exception and its inevitability for the political constitution. This concession frees of normative pre-conceptions of the political and leads us to the hypothesis that if we study the political beyond ideological skirmishes and narrative constructions we can come to conceive of the political as a sociological object of study.

The logic of the Exception suggests that such hypothesis can indeed be verified by sustaining Carl Schmitt’s famous definition of sovereignty: “Sovereign is the one who decides on the state of exception.” In four chapters a thorough discourse analysis is carried out with the purpose of bringing to the fore the complexity of Schmitt’s definition and the difficulties of sustaining it in a modern philosophical climate. Several definitions concerning the elements of the political are hereby produced facilitating the construction of a polity model in a concretist conceptual framework.

The analytical framework of concretism has several advantages for studying the political as a sociological object of study. Firstly, it avoids idealist assumptions and utopian preconceptions. Secondly, it contrasts the unending power relation analysis of political realism and comes to terms with the relativism of its conclusions. A third, but perhaps most notable consequence of a turn to concretism is the revelation of the fundamental logic governing the political, a revelation laying the political bare in its naked clarity as authority and dominance.

By conceptualizing the logic behind the fundamental mechanism of polity, The Logic of the Exception reveals a discourse free of moralist or cynical assumptions about the political. In light of this new found language, we come to understand the rise of global polity following the international state of exception (1999-2006) through a discussion of modern political sociology.

Publishing year





Lund Dissertations in Sociology



Document type



Lund University


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Carl Schmitt
  • Georges Sorel
  • Max Weber
  • Carl Schmitt
  • Georges Sorel
  • Max Weber




  • Göran Dahl


  • ISSN: 1102-4712

Defence date

7 March 2008

Defence time


Defence place

Kulturens Auditorium, Lund


  • Helge Höibraaten (Professor)