Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Humanities Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details

 Download: Poster | Brochure 1 | Brochure 2    

'Nomos' and the Re-politicising of Contemporary World Order

Mitchell Dean.

'Nomos' simply means law. However, when Carl Schmitt wrote 'Der Nomos der Erde' ('The Nomos of the Earth') at the end of World War Two, he used the term to raise the idea of 'world order' to a concept. Today, the question of world order has been substantially de-politicized in discourses of globalization, which view that order as a result of economic or cultural processes, and discourses of governance, which discuss a kind of 'post-sovereigntist' international political condition characterized by networks. Yet we live in an era of fundamentally planetary inequality, intransigent multiple conflicts, global armaments sales, and international relations characterized by new enemies (terror networks, rogue states), new or recycled justifications for war (just war, holy war, limited humanitarian intervention), and an extremely ambiguous framework of international law and government (exemplified by the relation of the US to the UN and to the International Court of Justice), to name but a few features. This workshop sketches this concept of 'nomos' and invites critical evaluation of contemporary contributions to it: from Fukuyama and Huntington to sociological theorists such as Castells and Beck, from globalization and governance debates to 'Empire' and Giorgio Agamben. The latter, with his concept of biopolitics, and his analyses of the refugee and the camp, offers a critical perspective on both Schmitt's concept and the contemporary understandings of world order.


Mitchell Dean  (Australia)
Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy
Macquarie University

Author and editor of a number of books, including 'Governmentality: power and rule in modern society', and numerous articles on social and political theory and analysis.

  • Nomos
  • World order
  • Globalization
  • International government
  • Empire
  • de-politicisation
Person as Subject
  • Schmitt, Carl. Agamben, Giorgio.

(60 min Workshop, English)