Illan rua Wall

Associate Professor of Law at Warwick Law School, University of Warwick.

Catastrophe: Critical Legal Conference 2017 Call for Streams

Ten years ago, the so-called ‘Invisible Committee’ urged that ‘It is useless to wait…. To go on waiting is madness. The catastrophe is not coming, it is here. We are already situated within the collapse of a civilization. It is within this reality that we must choose sides.’ Over a decade before, Leonard Cohen had…

Vertigo Sea: Migration Catastrophes

Acclaimed British artist John Akomfrah speaks on his new installation Vertigo Sea and explains the impact of recent migration on his art. “I’m for the blur. I’m about trying to blur these boundaries and borders because I think more resonance comes out of things, narratives conversant with each other, than not.” In Border/Talks: a conversation with…

CfP: Biopolitcal Matters, Symposium Warwick 13–14 June 2016

Biopolitcal Matters: What is biopolitics today? What are its discontents? Is there life after biopolitics? The Authority & Political Technologies (APT) network at Warwick aims to foster and support work in the critical social sciences that is informed by Foucauldian, Deleuzian and cultural-theory perspectives. In particular we are interested in work that carries forwards these…

Workshop: Scenes of Unrest: Law and Humanities Dissent

  Since the global financial crash of 2008, we have witnessed increasing levels of unrest and social discontent around the world (the various Occupys, the Spanish and Greek Indignados, the Arab Spring, the continuing disturbances in Brazil). Each of these moments raises significant questions for legal scholars: from the nature of police power, the role…

The In/determinacy of Human Rights: A Response to O’Connell

Paul O’Connell recently argued that human rights are not a trap for emancipatory and radical projects. They can be productively placed with different discourses like anti-capitalism, anti-racism or queer politics, generating productive moments of resistance. He argues against what he calls a ‘monolingual’ idea of struggle where movements can only engage with one discourse at…

Critical Bibliographies: Human Rights

We regularly get requests from students and activists looking for suggested readings on particular topics, so I thought it might be a good idea to supplement our critical concepts page with critical bibliographies on various important subjects for critical legal studies. With Ben Golder, Jessica Whyte and some really helpful crowd-sourcing from facebook, we have…

The Atmosphere of Revolution?

I want to follow up on a post from last year about the general strike, using the idea of silence as that which binds it together in its negativity (or catastrophe as Sorel would say). As I reread that piece for a book that I’m trying to write about crowds, I realised that one of…

The Infinity of the Silent Strike

Concluding this first tranche of essays on the crowd, Illan looks at the ‘catastrophe’ and infinity of the general strike.We know from Burke that it is the noise of the crowd or throng which leads to the expe­ri­ence of the sub­lime. The cacoph­ony of the many, gath­ered in their dis­charged state, draws us like a…

Civilisation & the Savage Crowd

Our series on crowds continues, in connection with the Crowded Sovereignty Project, with a reflection on Le Bon’s racialisation of the crowd.Any­one famil­iar with ‘crowd the­ory’ will have been told repeat­edly that Gus­tave Le Bon is an ori­gin. This asser­tion is quickly masked by obfus­ca­tion. He is not a first, of course, pre­ceded by the his­to­rian…

The Open Crowd & The Kettle

Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power pro­vides a use­ful start­ing point for this project. In it, he iden­ti­fies a wide num­ber of dif­fer­ent crowds. They are deter­mined by the tem­po­ral­ity of their aims, the space in which they man­i­fest them­selves, the ori­en­ta­tion of their activ­ity, the man­ner in which their togeth­er­ness is con­ceived. In fact, the axes of…

About ‘Crowded Sovereignty’

We are delighted to be launching the new website Crowded Sovereignty, and over the next few days we will be publishing the first three installments of this investigation of crowds, sovereignty, law and disorder.The crowd is not a technology or a subject of sovereignty. It is neither the ‘agent’ who could take, create or destroy…

Counterpress and Critical Legal Strategy

Counterpress was formally launched at a plenary during the Critical Legal Conference in Belfast last week. This is Illan rua Wall’s intervention at the launch in which he reflects upon the Press and critical legal strategy more broadly. In 2007, Daniel Bensaïd suggested that we turn to the question of strategy. Traditionally, strategy is distinguished…

Notes on the Theology of Constituent Power

In its traditional conception, the constituent is a power that constitutes and reconstitutes the state. This is a dangerous, though important salve for the problem of corruption in the body politic. The people or their representatives may overthrow the constituted order when it loses its authority, when the monarch or polyarch becomes tryannous. However, our…

Right & Rights: Notes on the Thought of Jean-Luc Nancy

Key Concept Nancy repeatedly rejects the banal politico-legal insistence on human rights as the solution to every answer, suggesting that such a move is intimately bound to the ‘withdrawal of the political’ (See Politics/ The Political). However, he does not reject rights out of hand. In a recent text entitled ‘From the Imperative to Law’,…

Eco-Technics: Notes on the Thought of Jean-Luc Nancy

Nancy coins the term eco-technics to describe the current global politico-economic conjuncture. Hillis Miller explains: ‘“Eco” comes from the Greek word oikos, the house or home. The prefix “eco-” is used more broadly now to refer to the total environment within which one or another “living” creature “dwells”’ (Hillis Miller 2012, 66). Thus, at stake…

Politics and the Political: Notes On the Thought of Jean-Luc Nancy

In 2003 Nancy gave a brief, basic philosophical radio talk in which he discussed the question of politics and the political. Reprising his early work with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe at the Centre de Recherches Philosophiques sur la Politique (the Centre for Philosophical Research on the Political), he explained that excessive use is often made of the…

The Public Life of Private Law Workshop at the University of Warwick

Legal scholarship on the relationship between private law and human rights is dominated by (i) ‘constitutionalisation’; the idea that private law will absorb human rights norms over time  (ii) the instrumental use of private law to enforce compliance with human rights norms. But in many respects private obligation stands apart from human rights law, and as an alternative to…

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…

Los Indignados: Manifesto Against the Plundering of the Commons

Spain has been the theatre of a prolonged speculative wave that ended abruptly in 2007, having been one of the world leaders in the cycle of real estate-financial accumulation. Spanish capitalism took advantage of an intensive use of the territory that guaranteed strong profit rates, with the support of large masses of capital acquired on…