Introduction: Schmitt, Mao and the Politics of Transition

  • Qi Zheng


How is it possible to find a common ground and compare the theory of Carl Schmitt, a right-wing political philosopher, to that of Mao Zedong, a radical leftist? Due to their different political positions, it is inevitable that their political theories also differ fundamentally in many aspects. What’s more, there is no evidence to show that they have influenced each other’s theory. Although Schmitt analyzed Mao’s theory of the partisan and the friend/enemy distinction in his later work Theory of the Partisan (1963), Schmitt’s theory of the political, mainly contained in The Concept of the Political, was developed in 1927. There is no possibility that he had read Mao at that time. For Mao, it is also impossible that he encountered Schmitt’s work when he developed his own political theory in the early twentieth century, since Schmitt’s works were first introduced in China at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Both of these facts cast doubt on the possibility of finding a common ground whereon to make an effective and meaningful comparison of their theories.


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  1. 1.
    For a similar evaluation of the theories of Schmitt and Lenin, see Eckard Bolsinger, The Autonomy of the Political (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001), pp. xii–xiii.Google Scholar

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© Qi Zheng 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qi Zheng
    • 1
  1. 1.East China Normal UniversityPeople’s Republic of China

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