Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 439–451 | Cite as

The temporalities of exception. The long shadow of the American Civil War

  • Sabine MischnerEmail author


In this paper, it is argued that one should take a closer look at the temporalities the ‘state of exception’. In rhetoric legitimizing a state of exception, it is usually a clean-cut periodization that is implied. I will show that this implicit proposition is fundamentally flawed. As a case study, I analyze the American Civil War during which the extent of presidential war powers has been vigorously tested, setting precedents whose repercussions can still be felt today. First, the focus will be on political actors arguing for exceptional measures by pointing to their temporary nature. Second, the impact of such war measures on the US after the war will be highlighted, as well as the legal problems surrounding the question of how to define the duration of the war. Finally, general conclusions are offered and a contemporary example given which underpins the need to be critical of simple timeframes when it comes to the state of exception.

Die Temporalitäten der Ausnahme. Der lange Schatten des Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieges


In diesem Artikel wird argumentiert, dass die Temporalitäten des ‚Ausnahmezustandes‘ genauerer Untersuchung bedürfen. Rhetorik, die einen Ausnahmezustand legitimiert, geht meist implizit von einer klaren Periodisierung aus. Ich werde zeigen, dass diese implizite Annahme fundamentale Fehler enthält. Als Fallbeispiel wird der Amerikanische Bürgerkrieg analysiert, während dessen die Reichweite der präsidentiellen War Powers ausgetestet wurde. Dadurch wurden Präzedenzfälle geschaffen, die bis heute nachwirken. Erstens wird der Fokus auf politischen Akteuren liegen, die außergewöhnliche Maßnahmen verteidigen und fordern, indem sie sich darauf zurückziehen, dass diese Maßnahmen nur temporär sind. Zweitens wird herausgearbeitet, welche Wirkungen diese Kriegsmaßnahmen nach dem Krieg hatten, genauso wie die juristischen Probleme, die sich aus der Frage ergeben, wie die Länge des Krieges zu definieren ist. Schließlich werden generelle Schlüsse gezogen und ein aktuelles Beispiel herangezogen, welches unterstreicht, wie wichtig es ist, zu einfache Zeitrahmen kritisch zu hinterfragen, wenn es um den Ausnahmezustand geht.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Historisches SeminarAlbert-Ludwigs-UniversitätFreiburg i. Br.Germany

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