Southampton CLEG Seminar Series, 15 Feb 2012

The Southampton Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalization has two great speakers coming up this semester – Angus MacDonald and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos.

Angus MacDonald – Thinking Against Constituted Law; A Response to Oren Ben-Dor (15/02/2012, Law Building Rm 2055)

Oren Ben-Dor has argued that “Critical legal scholarship seemed to be capable of being both against the law … but at the same time still anticipating legal language.” He soon after characterises the critical position as, “Going ‘out’ was merely a way of staying in.” But critical legal thinking about constitutional law which overcomes this worry about whether one is against the law, beyond the law, for the law, complicit with the law, in love with the law (as Goodrich alleged) or in whatever relation to the law when one makes critique of the law is possible. For anticipation in relation to legal language is something more than capitulation to legal language. Anticipation is as Ernst Bloch puts it, “expectation, hope, intention to still unbecome possibility”; as Tarik Kochi glosses this, “an anticipatory consciousness … perceives the unrealised emancipatory potential of the past, latencies and tendencies of the present, and realisable hopes of the future.” Applied to Constitutional Law, what can be anticipated in its legal language of sovereignty, of constituting and constituted power, of constitutionality, of rule of law, of separation of powers, of public sphere, of law? Answering this question justifies a practice of critical legal theorising.

Bio: Angus MacDonald, University of Staffordshire. Angus currently teaches Constitutional Law and Human Rights in the Law School at Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent; formerly taught Critical Legal Theory. He is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow (LLB with Honours in Jurisprudence and Comparative Law) and Sheffield (MA in Socio-Legal Studies). Active in the Critical Legal Conference since 1988, his research interests grow from an attempt to develop adequate concepts for Constitutional Law, a task defined broadly and including work on cinema, music, literature, and political theory, published in contributions to collections and journals, including recently “I have set my affair on nothing”, (Punk, Stirner, Critical Legal Theory) on Critical Legal Thinking, 2011; Power Of Dream/Dream Of Power (Kleist’s Prince of Homburg, Prerogative power, Justice) in Mies Vaarasta Tiedekunnasta 2010; Eden/Shangri-la (Theology, Bataille, Beckett, Dorian Gray, Intimacy) in Law and Evil, Routledge,2010; The Law: Like God, Like Sex (Law, Religion, Sciascia, Erotics, Musil) in Contemporary Issues In Law vol 10:4 2010; The Sound Of The Fall, The Truth Of This Movement Of Error in Mark E Smith And The Fall: Art, Music And Politics 2010.

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos – Take a Walk! Space, Bodies, Law (Law Building, Rm 2055)

Law’s spatial turn has not yet affected the way law is taught. Law’s spatial turn is the ethical turn par excellence, itself building on the textual turn but transgressing it. Spatial turn is founded on post-structuralism and deconstruction but takes dynamically into consideration the emplacement of the body within space, the spatial dimension of the law and the parameters that space brings into the understanding of the law. These are not simply ideas and practices about diversity and locality/community, but more significantly concepts on being lost, on having no predetermined direction, on not being able to escape. Space brings to law an entirely different dimension to that of time, indeed a more violent and unsettling one that cannot be assuaged by the in-built legal concepts of waiting, moving towards a temporal horizon of justice. This sort of dimension has to be filtered into the law and its teaching. Law’s spatiality is fleshed out through simple but targeted practices that revolve around walking, being emplaced, understanding one’s spatial presence. This ties up with the concept of spatial justice – a misunderstood concept that so far has failed to take into consideration space and dealt solely with geography. While these distinctions will be analysed, the focus of the paper is the way law and its academic teaching is transformed by the radical nature of a spatial justice that demands a re-emplaced corporeality in relation to ‘here’ rather than ‘now’. Methodologically, the chapter is a Deleuzian radical conceptualisation of legal space and its modes of academic communication.

Professor Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, University of Westminster. Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, LLB, LLM, PhD, is Professor of Law & Theory, University of Westminster and Director of The Westminster International Law & Theory Centre. His research includes critical theory, phenomenology, autopoiesis, environmental law, European law, law and literature, gender studies, law and art. His edited volumes Law and the City (2007) and Law and Ecology, and his monographs Absent Environments (2007) and Niklas Luhmann: Law, Justice, Society (2009) are published by Routledge.
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