Green Großraum: Carl Schmitt’s political ecology of space


  • John Peter Antonacci SUNY Binghamton, Dept.of Sociology


How scholars conceptualize the driving forces of planetary crisis is intimately connected to how they conceptualize solutions to it. Recent scholarship has drawn on the work of Carl Schmitt, Nazi jurist and political philosopher, to articulate concepts in political ecology. These works of political ecology, however, do not engage with the problematic political history of the work and concepts developed by Schmitt. This article asks: what kinds of assumptions do we adopt when deploying Schmitt’s geographical, political, and ecological conceptual apparati? First, the article draws on the work of Minca and Rowan (2015, 2016) and Giaccaria and Minca (2016) to argue that Schmitt’s thought is geographical, that Nazi geographical thought was intimately tied to geographies of conquest on the part of the Nazis. It argues that Schmitt’s concept of Großraum or “greater space/ sphere of influence” is bound up with Schmitt’s and the Nazi’s politics of an ethnically/ racially motivated politics of “Friend versus Enemy.” The article then evaluates Schmitt’s concept of the political and considers its implications in relation to the environmental crisis of contemporary conjuncture, arguing that Schmitt’s amorphous conceptualization of the political allows the distinction between friend and enemy to be left open to interpretation, making it possible for both intellectuals and green political parties to articulate xenophobic and reactionary political positions in environmental terms.

Research Articles


2023-12-04 — Updated on 2024-02-12

How to Cite

Antonacci, J. P. (2024). Green Großraum: Carl Schmitt’s political ecology of space. Nordia Geographical Publications, 53(1), 63–81.