Critical Legal Theory

Legal infrastructure, differentiated space and the spectacle of ‘lawful protest’: The Australian G20 (Safety and Security) Act 2013

Brisbane Exclusion Zone

Queensland is this year host to various G20 meetings, most prominently the Finance Ministers’ Meeting that was held in Cairns on 20 & 21 September and next month’s Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane on 15 & 16 November. At a cost of over $450 million, a massive security operation is being coordinated by the Commonwealth Government Taskforce (G20

Demanding the Future: The Right2Water and Another Ireland

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The American abolitionist Frederick Douglass once observed that if you find out ‘just what any people will quietly submit to … you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them’ and that such injustices ‘will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with…

Federation: Notes on the thought of Carl Schmitt

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One of the most thorough and interesting discussions of the relationship between federalism, constitutionalism and democracy is presented by Carl Schmitt in Constitutional Theory (Duke University Press, 2008). A federation of states, or just a federation, is according to Schmitt a curious and structurally contradictory interstate relation, which has to be distinguished from, on the one hand, a confederation…

An Island of Saints and Sadists: Abortion in Ireland

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People often ask me why I write such dark books. You’re such a sunny person, they say. I say: Look around you, what kind of a country do you think you’re living in? Here is a tale of the island of Saints and Sadists. A young woman came to our country for help, for a home, for safety. We call her…

International Law 1914/​2014

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Looking back to mid-​1914 from mid-​2014, it is hard to see beyond the piles of bodies. History barely seems up to the task of grappling with this tumultuous interstice. Perhaps, rather than approaching this interval as a sequence of historical contexts, we might conceive of it – and our relationship to it – in terms of a welter of styles, or…

Should we value academic fashions?

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Fashions come and go, but what about academic or intellectual fashions? Are they like any other, with the same pleasures and limitations? Or should ideas be protected from the vagaries and currencies of what is current? Googling the phrase “academic fashion” produces a lot of hits — almost all address the question of what to wear. Very few…

The Infinity of the Silent Strike

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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 mag­net. But the crowd in strike has a num­ber of very dif­fer­ent dynam­ics to our open, closed and occu­pa­tion crowds. Let…

Civilisation & the Savage Crowd

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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 Taine and the early crim­i­nol­o­gists Lom­broso and Sighele. But Le Bon is the one who draws these dis­persed though influ­en­tial works together…

The Open Crowd & The Kettle

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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 dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion multiply…

About ‘Crowded Sovereignty’

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The crowd is not a technology or a subject of sovereignty. It is neither the ‘agent’ who could take, create or destroy sovereignty; nor a ‘means’ for others to become sovereign. The crowd is remarkable because of its prevalence and excision. It is often there in those paradigmatic moments of sovereignty, but generally maligned and denigrated. This…

A Walk in Yarl’s Wood

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On a fine winter’s day, the first fine day after weeks of storms and rain, I went for a walk in the country. I found myself in a typical English rural landscape, driving down hedge-​lined lanes that grew progressively narrower. A couple of dead badgers lay whitening on the edges of the road. At the gate of a farm the road turned abruptly…

Bodies, Buses, and Permits: Palestinians Navigating Care

Figure 1: Israeli Soldiers’ T-Shirts. SOurce

In May 2013, I traveled to Palestine for six months to collect data for a research project that examines the cultural and visual productions of natalist images, including pregnancy and birth. During the time I spent traveling throughout the West Bank and Israel, I took account of the various modes of (re)production of Palestinian women’s bodies. I am interested in…

It is our belief that Palestine is a feminist issue .…

So long as antiwar activists denounce the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but not Israel’s occupation of Palestine, I will keep drawing the parallels. So long as Western feminists denounce the oppression of Arab women as a result of Islamic fundamentalism, but not as a result of Israeli occupation, I will raise my voice. I will explain that Palestinian women are without any…

Palestinian Feminist Critique and the Physics of Power: Feminists Between Thought and Practice

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The Palestinian woman in the Jewish state is a woman who confronts and defies bio-​political, geopolitical and necropolitical Zionist settler colonialism, as well as socio-​patriarchal oppression. The various forms of oppression facing Palestinian women, and the discrimination that violates their rights (Rouhana, 1997), along with the Israeli state’s structural violence (Rouhana and Sultani, 2003) have proliferated.…

Dense Struggle (IV): The Ghostly Real

Photo. 22. IDP marching in the streets of Bogotá and calling the state to fulfill its obligations towards displaced population according to National Law 387/1997: “Displaced population is part of Colombia. Fulfill Law 387” (June, 2009). L. Eslava.

As I mentioned in the last post, one of the most perplexing circumstances that surrounded the appearance of the ghost in the refuge was that it occurred at the precise moment at which the group of IDPs formally entered into the realm of the official. It could have easily occurred earlier, when they were protesting, in…

Dense Struggle (III): The Modern Uncanny

Photo. 16. Arriving for the first time at the refuge(May, 2009). L. Eslava.

In the last two posts I have argued that the longue durée of capitalist modernity has implied an expansion of a material and social global ordering, and that this process is far from being free of emotional forces, even of an uncanny dimension. In my account, this expansion of capitalist modernity — with its patterns of global accumulation, wealth…