Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 385–394 | Cite as

State of Exception in the Anglo-American Liberal Tradition

  • Ewa AtanassowEmail author
  • Ira Katznelson


This essay identifies conceptual and institutional approaches within the Anglo-American liberal tradition for meeting security challenges without compromising constitutional and ethical principles. From its seventeenth century beginnings, political liberalism has confronted the problematic of the ‘state of exception,’ and has elaborated a repertoire of ideas and institutions for governing exigencies that remain instructive. In the first half of the twentieth century, responding to Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberal insufficiency, liberal thinkers, especially in the United States, sought to show how liberal polities can govern emergency situations within the scope of law. Following historical and political developments since the mid-twentieth century, the solutions proposed by such figures as Carl Joachim Friedrich and Clinton Rossiter no longer seem adequate to present conditions of prolonged emergency. Fresh institutional imagination is needed. The article concludes by offering four broad guidelines for allaying today’s tensions between security and liberty.

Der Ausnahmezustand in der anglo-amerikanischen liberalen Tradition


Der Aufsatz identifiziert konzeptionelle und institutionelle Ansätze innerhalb der anglo-amerikanischen liberalen Theorie, die Sicherheitsbedürfnissen entsprechen ohne dabei verfassungsmäßige oder ethische Prinzipien zu korrumpieren. Seit seinen Anfängen im Siebzehnten Jahrhundert war der politische Liberalismus mit dem Problem des „Ausnahmezustandes“ konfrontiert und hat eine auch heute noch relevante Reihe von Ideen und Institutionen für entsprechende Anforderungen an die Regierung entwickelt. In der ersten Hälfte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts haben insbesondere in den USA liberale Denker, in Reaktion auf Carls Schmitts Kritik an liberaler Insuffizienz, aufzuzeigen vermocht, wie liberale Institutionen Ausnahmezustände auf der Basis der bestehenden Rechtsordnung regeln können. Aufgrund der historischen und politischen Entwicklungen seit der Mitte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts scheinen diese Lösungen, wie sie etwa von Carl Joachim Friedrich oder Clinton Rossiter vorgetragen worden sind, angesichts einer fortdauernden Ausnahmelage nicht mehr angemessen. Es bedarf neuer institutioneller Entwürfe. Der Artikel schließt, indem er vier weitgefasste Empfehlungen zur Einhegung der heutigen Spannungen zwischen Sicherheit und Freiheit vorstellt.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bard College BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityNew York CityUSA

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