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Martin Klamt: “Localized Norms”. A concept to encounter the spatial dimension of the idea of “Ausnahmezustand” and its urban condition

The newer dogmatic history of the “Ausnahmezustand” was coined by the thoughts of Carl Schmitt. A contextualization of the idea of the state of emergency/exception and its spatial urban dimension should consider the main criteria of the “Ausnahmezustand”: defining the normal and the irregular by norms. This definition has become manifest both in legal (state of emergency) and in social norms (state of exception).

But despite the fact that the latter definition is formative for everyday life in cities it has hardly ever been raised the question if there is a nexus of place and norm. The contribution therefore focuses on the spatial dimension of norms defining what and expecially where certain social practise is regarded as “normal” or as “exceptional”. From this point of view the state of exception has a decisive urban dimension becoming manifest in people’s behaviour in city spaces. The approach is based upon concepts of social space and environmental psychology including symbolic and affective dimensions of the built urban environment and its reciprocative effects on human behaviour in city spaces (e.g. Soja 1996; Barker 1968; Weichhart 2004). Against this background a theory of “Localized Norms” can be formed (Klamt 2007).

The contribution will firstly draw on this concept in theory to review the spatial dimension of the idea of “Ausnahmezustand” and the relation of space and norms. Secondly, it exemplifies (and verifies) that concept and the urban condition of the exceptional by the results of an empirical study on behaviour in public spaces including an empirical experiment.

About the Author

Studies in Political Science (Diploma 2004), in Human Geography (Diploma hons. 2005), and Law. Since 2008 member of the DFG Graduate Research Program on Urban Ecology at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, Division of Applied Geography and Spatial Planning (research project on “Bundesgartenschau as an instrument of sustainable urban development”). Since 2006 dissertation in constitutional and European law, Faculty of Law, LMU Munich. Former assistant at the Chair of Public Law (Prof. Dr. Papier) and at the Chair of European and International Private Law (Prof. Dr. Calliess), LMU Munich. Lecturer at the Institute of Geography, LMU Munich and HU Berlin.

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