Free Sea

Philip Steinberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reflects on the way in which Carl Schmitt, in Nomos of the Earth, constructs the image of the sea as an antithetical space beyond society, a vision that contrasts with the markable and boundable spaces of land. Through an engagement with Lagrangian fluid dynamic modeling techniques, I suggest that Schmitt's perspective on both land and sea is based on a terracentric perspective on space that is inordinately biased toward settlement in points that are fixed in both space and time. The chapter concludes by suggesting that an alternate global ontology, founded in the fluidity of the sea, might provide a better foundation for understanding a world characterized by global connections.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpatiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt
Subtitle of host publicationGeographies of the Nomos
EditorsStephen Legg
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-0203815823
ISBN (Print)978-0415522861, 978-0415600675
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2011

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