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What does ‘the crowd’ Want? Populism and the Origin of Democracy

The liberal critique of the recent rise of populism reveals an uneasiness toward ‘unruly’ emotional crowds and their leaders’ anti-democratic postures – albeit these figures have captured political power through democratic means.[i] Trump, Le Pen, Modi, and Erdogan have indeed stirred nationalist emotions and collective energies in explosive directions. Erdogan’s purge of the Turkish state…

Macron & Africa’s ‘civilisational’ problem

Mr Macron has been nostalgic lately. First, he was nostalgic for the 18th century and hereditary rule asserting that the French people did not want to execute the king and that the revolution has left a (king-shaped) void at the heart of the Republic that only other paternal figures can fill. Then, Mr Macron was…

CfP: Metamorphosis of Labour: Social Identity, Mobilization, Integration, Representation; Conference, Brussels 9–11 November

International Conference 9-11 November 2017, Brussels  Within the framework of the Jean Monnet Project I Work Therefore I am (European) Speakers and participants  Emiliano Acosta (Vrije University of Bruxelles), Tiziana Andina (University of Torino), Gabriele Bischoff (EESC), Roberto Ciccarelli (Journalist at Il Manifesto), Silvia Contarini (University of Paris Nanterre), Rocco Cangelosi (CIME), Georges Dassis (EESC),…

Radical Reconfigurations? Old and new futures in Northern Ireland

As the Conservative Party’s majority evaporated in the early hours of 9th June 2017, the new parliamentary power of the DUP quickly came into focus. With Sinn Fein resolutely abstaining from taking their seats, the Democratic Unionist Party find themselves in a position to enter a formal coalition or, more likely, a confidence and supply…

Five theses on youth & the sociology of the UK election

(or some quickly gathered thoughts) Thesis 1. Contemporary capitalism rarely appears simple. Back in 1848 Marx wrote in the opening of The Communist Manifesto about how “Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two…

Editorial: Labour’s Insurgent Electoral Campaign

Whatever happens in today’s election in the UK, Corbyn’s campaign has been a success. Not in generations has there been an insurgent electoral campaign from the Labour party. By this we mean a campaign that faced down almost universal media antipathy (even hatred) but sought to turn Labor’s unpopularity with the establishment against the establishment itself.…

PhD in Security, Precarious Populations and the Neoliberal Age (UNSW, Sydney)

The University of New South Wales, Sydney, is offering a four year scholarship to work in the Law School on a PhD project entitled ‘Security, Precarious Populations, and the Neoliberal Age’. The package includes full tuition, a stipend of $40,000 AUD p.a., plus a travel and development support package of up to $10,000 AUD p.a.  The description of the project is as…

The Empire Strikes Back: On the recent general strike in Brazil

In a recent review of Alex Cuadros’ 2016 Brazzillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country (astonishingly, yet unsurprisingly, still unpublished in Portuguese and in Brazil) Patrick Iber, writing for the New Republic, declared that ‘if Brazil’s inequality shocks the conscience, we must recognize that, as a global community, we are all Brazil.’…

Michel Foucault: Biopolitics and Biopower

Key Concept Despite their prominence in subsequent academic writing,1 the concepts of “biopower” and “biopolitics” are perhaps the most elusive, and arguably the most compelling (given the attention they have subsequently received), concepts of Michel Foucault’s oeuvre. Within his published work, these concepts featured only in the last chapter of the slim first volume of…

Brexit is upon us: what is to be done?

To know where we are going we must know how we got here. A long-established online politics forum currently has a thread under the title ‘Creating Lexit: What is to be done?’ A reasonable enough question, and the ‘creating’ admits we are a long way from a left Brexit right now. What struck me strongly…

Coup d’Funk: 2017 Focus on the Funk

  Tectonic shifts in the given order of the world made 2016 a vintage year for the Right. Referendums, elections, soft coups, and quasi-judicial or political processes in the UK, the US, India, the Philippines, Colombia and Brazil amongst others made clear the challenge posed by appeals to nativism in these times of crisis. However,…

CfP: Law and Culture Conference, London 7-8 September 2017

What does it mean to break the world? What is legitimate resistance to state power? When does authority spill over into repression? What happens when a sovereign loses control? What is an anarchic act? Is anarchic thought possible? What is anarchy’s relationship to chaos and disorder? What is its relationship to order and regulation? How…

Call for Streams: Dissents & Dispositions, Melbourne 12–14 December 2017

Tom Nicholson, ‘Towards a Monument to Batman’s Treaty’ (2013) 101 A0 printed sheets, pasted to the wall of the museum, and 3,520 bricks collected from citizens in and around Healesville. Exh.: Future memorials, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 19 October 2013 — 9 February 2014. Photograph Christian Capurro. Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery

Dissent and disposition are both relational. To dissent is to disagree and be at variance: to refuse an established order, to diverge from orthodoxy, to oppose, critique, quarrel and rearrange. If political dissent is commonly understood as speaking truth to power, how does this occur, or occur differently, now that power is increasingly dislocated from state forms,…

Governmentality and the Management of the Circulation of ‘Extreme’ Ideas

In October 2016, the University of Sussex published its Freedom of Speech Code of Practice1 and its accompanying External Speakers’ Procedure.2 Like the many recent ‘Freedom of Speech’ or ‘External Speaker’ policies across higher education institutions in the UK, the main objective of these policies is to ensure University compliance with the Counter Terrorism and…

Kent Summer School in Critical Theory, Paris 26 June – 7 July

Kent Law School announces its annual Kent Summer School in Critical Theory (KSSCT), running again this year in Paris, from 26 June to 7 July. The KSSCT offers the opportunity to attend a single two-week intensive seminar with a leading critical thinker. This year, seminars will be held by Professor Timothy Campbell of Cornell University,…

Swedens of the Mind

This article was first published by Wildcat Dispatches: Speaking in Florida on Saturday 18 February, Donald Trump pledged to keep the United States safe from refugees, and pointed to catastrophes unfolding elsewhere as the reason: We’ve got to keep out country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last…

CfP: Mythology of Modern Law, Melbourne 12 May 2017

In the opening sentence of Peter Fitzpatrick’s seminal book, The Mythology of Modern Law, first published in 1992, the claim that “law as a unified entity can only be reconciled with its contradictory existences if we see it as myth” is described as the first chapter’s “suspiciously simple argument”. Few perhaps would regard even that…