Is there a Right to Disobedience and Resistance? Costas Douzinas, Birkbeck Annual Law Lecture, 24 May 2013

Global Democracy Now

The School of Law, Birkbeck presents

2013 Annual Law Lecture


Professor Costas Douzinas

Birkbeck, University of London

‘The ‘new world order’ announced in 1989 was the shortest in history coming to an abrupt end in 2008.  From the Arab spring, to the indignados and Occupy, protests and uprisings have erupted all over the world. History, recently declared finished, has been reborn as we move into an age of resistance and change. New forms of resistance appear regularly. Their timing is unpredictable, their legal position problematic but their occurrence certain.

The lecture examines the (legal) right to resistance. Permanent revolution is the condition in modern science and art. In law, the right has been written off but cannot be wished away. it has turned into a ghostly norm, a void at the core of law that keeps it from ossifying. Despite the reservations of philosophers and lawyers, resistance has become the modern expression of free action when the order of the world decays.  The ‘right to resistance’ remains the highest form of political freedom and moral responsibility. As right and as event, resistance acts like a ghost which supports all other rights. Despite its disavowal, resistance returns from time to time like the repressed.’

Friday 24 May, 6–8pm.

Venue: Room B34 Malet St Building, Birkbeck, University of London

Tickets to this event are free but we recommend you secure your place on our Eventbrite page.

Costas Douzinas

COSTAS DOUZINAS is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, a Professor of Law and the Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. His recent books include The Meaning of Human Rights (co-edited with Conor Gearty, CUP, 2014), The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (co-edited with Conor Gearty, CUP, 2013), Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe (Polity, 2013), The Idea of Communism (co-edited with Slavoj Žižek, Verso, 2012), and New Critical Legal Thinking: Law and the Political (co-edited with Matthew Stone and Illan rua Wall, Birkbeck Law Press/Routledge, 2012). Douzinas has served as an editor for Law & Critique, his books have been translated into thirteen languages, and he has written extensively for The Guardian, OpenDemocracy, and other global publications. 

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