Thomas Schmidt-Lux (Leipzig): Räume eigenen Rechts: Moderner Anti-Konstitutionalismus in vergleichender Perspektive


Constitutions are a fixture of modern societies, and debates on their content are also part of the daily agenda. Recently, however, groups that fundamentally question existing constitutions have increasingly come into focus. In Germany, these groups, which have become known as the so-called “Reichsbürger”, have often drawn much attention over the past years. At the same time, this cannot be viewed as a primarily German phenomenon: In the United States, too, similar actors are known as the “sovereign citizen movement”.  Despite their differences, these groups have one common trait: They question law by invoking law. In most cases, the thereby voiced “criticisms” and “arguments” reference the validity of constitutions as well as national law in general – and, if nothing else, the state’s supposed “illegitimate” monopoly on the use of force. This coalesces with creating spaces of one’s own law or striving to implement them.  Based on his research and from a legal as well as cultural-sociological perspective, private lecturer Dr. Thomas Schmidt-Lux will introduce the topic and, with emphasis on the German scene, comparatively analyze the objectives and practices of anti-constitutional groupings in his lecture.

Curriculum Vitae

Thomas Schmidt-Lux studied sociology and history in Leipzig und Zurich. In 2005, he obtained his PhD at the University of Leipzig with a thesis on the topic “Wissenschaft als Religion. Szientismus im ostdeutschen Säkularisierungsprozess” (“Science as Religion. Scientism in the Secularization process of East Germany”), receiving a stipend by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation). Since 2006, he is a researcher in cultural sociology at the Institute for Cultural Studies at the University of Leipzig. His research interests include the sociology of vigilante justice and violence as well as the sociology of religion, law and architecture. Dr. Schmidt-Lux was active as a Visiting Researcher at inter alia the University of Birmingham and as a DAAD-Visiting Fellow at the “Centre canadien d’etudes allemandes et européennes” at the University of Montréal.

Dr. Thomas Schmidt-Lux was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities "Law as Culture" from April 2016 to March 2017.