Responsible Researcher

Dipl.-Soz. Gerd Bender
Gerd Bender
Researcher, European Affairs Commissioner of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Phone: +49 (69) 789 78 - 136
Fax: +49 (69) 789 78 - 169

Research Project | Department II

Discourses of Private Power

The German Empire, 1890-1933

The question concerning the presence of private actors in the sub-system of politics has– also and in particular – shaped the ‘state-theoretical’ debate in the timeframe under investigation. This debate primarily involves the inclusion/exclusion of organised, diverse interests in ‘politics’ as well as the chances of a complex order connected with it. More than a few authors opted for a clever and cunning Leviathan, who understands himself as being at the centre of a more broadly conceived political system and thus is able to meet the challenges of the diverse social conditions.  Others emphasise the risk of a fraying notion of statehood, of a “qualitatively total” state or socially corrosive abuse of private power. This article deals with the latter side of the debate. The focus of this treatment will be the legal theorists Conrad Bornhak and Carl Schmitt, as well as – with special attention being paid to – the co-founder of Ordoliberalism Franz Böhm.

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