Come a little closer: Citizens, law, and identification

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


What should the relationship between citizens and the law in a liberal democracy look like? The idea that citizens should be associated with the laws that govern them is a cornerstone of democratic theory. Yet the specific nature of this relationship has varied widely in theory and practice. I examine one conceptualization of this relationship: the notion that democratic citizens should substantively identify with the law and see their preferences, will, or morality in it. This kind of civic identification with the law is suggested in Carl Schmitt's The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. Schmitt's text points both to the seductive appeal of civic identification with the law and to its pernicious potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-227
Number of pages12
JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Carl Schmitt
  • Citizenship
  • Democracy
  • Law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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