CRITICAL LEGAL THINKING

LAW AND THE POLITICAL

CRITICAL LEGAL THINKING

LAW AND THE POLITICAL

Constituent Power in a Minor Key: Carolyn Pedwell’s Revolutionary Routines

Constituent Power in a Minor Key: Carolyn Pedwell’s Revolutionary Routines

There is a tendency in discussions of constituent power to focus on the groups involved, the subjectivities produced and the discursive significance of the events themselves. Revolts are full of conflict and violence, they pull down sovereign orders and generate constitutional structures. So we can see why they might be thought of as the quintessential ‘big’ event - politics in a major key. Carolyn Pedwell’s new book Revolutionary Routines challenges this mode of analysis, by adding to the burgeoning literature on the ‘minor politics’ of social change. The concern of the book is with the affective dynamics of ‘habit’. As the subtitle explains, the book is about ‘the habits of social transformation’. But for many ‘habit’ and ‘transformation’ seem to pull in opposite directions. Habit suggests stasis (a certain stuckness), transformation implies dynamism. From the outset Pedwell underlines the ways in which habit can run through transformative moments, and the ways in...

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ARTICLES

Beware of the Cry of Expropriation

Beware of the Cry of Expropriation

Santiago, October 2019, thousands of people occupied the streets asking for economic structural reforms. A demonstration that started with students complaining about an increase in the metro fare escalated quickly in a national movement demanding significant changes...

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Karl Marx: Alienation

Karl Marx: Alienation

The Marxian concept of alienation (Entäußerung)  or estrangement (Entfremdung) is one of the most discussed notions in the history of modern social and political theory. There is a long history of the term before Marx, from the giusnaturalistic and...

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Syllabus: Decolonizing Political Science

Syllabus: Decolonizing Political Science

We are republishing a slightly abridged version of Prof Robbie Shilliam's brilliant Decolonizing Political Science syllabus (full version with assessment available here). We also welcome other radical syllabi (both those practiced and ideal) and hope that the act of...

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Law, Metrics and the Scholarly Economy

Law, Metrics and the Scholarly Economy

As markets began to usurp other forms of social regulation throughout the 20thcentury, metrics became increasingly central to the coordination of new spheres of market-mediated relations. More recently, digital metrics have been operationalized to facilitate the...

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States that Build Citizen Power and Joy

States that Build Citizen Power and Joy

In her recent article for CLT, Davina Cooper calls for the urgent reimagination of the state. She calls upon critical theorists to move beyond critique of the current state form, and ask the deeper questions: what is the state for? What does it mean to be a state?...

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On the Mark of Woman

On the Mark of Woman

It is true that men do not understand the refusal so well. It is true that women understand it all too well. Such that they make it their own. When the death of Eurydices Dixon in Melbourne re-evoked the chant “men fear women laughing at them, women fear men killing...

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The Urgent Task of Reimagining the State

The Urgent Task of Reimagining the State

Covid 19 has given new urgency to the radical task of rethinking the state.  Illness, job losses, hospitalisation, and economic precarity demonstrate the need for scales and forms of governance that can organise and resource social welfare and public health...

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Anti-racism, Materialism and the Sewell Report

Anti-racism, Materialism and the Sewell Report

One might be forgiven for thinking that the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ Report was released a day early. The Report’s insistence that Britain is not institutionally racist, and indeed that Britain could serve as a ‘beacon’ for other...

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Brighton and Hove’s Homeless Bill of Rights

Brighton and Hove’s Homeless Bill of Rights

On 25 March 2021 the City of Brighton & Hove voted (by 31 votes to 11, with 7 abstentions) to adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights. (The text, and much other material related to the campaign, may be found at the website: The Homeless Bill of Rights.) What does this...

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A Decolonial Feminist Critique of Penality

A Decolonial Feminist Critique of Penality

Andrea Zambrano Rojas & Iván Zambrano. 'Staroutkinsk (Russia) and Quito (Ecuador)' 2021 Contemporary penal expansion does not have an exclusively neoliberal heritage, so how are we to make sense of penality thriving through progressive political discourses?...

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Sexual Violence at the University

Sexual Violence at the University

TW: Sexual Violence Since 18th March 2021, students at the University of Warwick have occupied the Piazza, at the centre of the campus, demanding change in the way that the institution deals with sexual violence. At the time of writing, they have been in...

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The Begum Judgment on the Couch

The Begum Judgment on the Couch

The Supreme Court’s judgment in the Begum case[i] has already attracted multiple readings and commentary. This comment will attempt a different kind of reading, and of listening, given the judgment was not only published but also broadcast live as delivered by...

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OVER A DECADE OF ARCHIVES

On Colonial Universality and other Legal Prerogatives: Reflections on Peter Fitzpatrick’s The Mythology of Modern Law

Following the death of Peter Fitzpatrick this month, we are reposting this series on The Mythology of Modern Law (first published on CLT on 3 August 2018) to mark the 25th anniversary of the book.2017 marked the 25th anniversary of Peter Fitzpatrick’s The Mythology of...

Against Agamben: Is a Democratic Biopolitics Possible?

Giorgio Agamben’s recent intervention which characterizes the measures implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as an exercise in the biopolitics of the ‘state of exception’ has sparked an important debate on how to think of biopolitics. The very...

Law, Reading, and Power: The ‘S’ Joke, Why You Find it Funny and Why I Don’t (with Reply)

A guy walks into a bakery known for making fancy cakes. He says, “I’d like to have a cake shaped like the letter S.” The baker says he can do it, but the cake will be expensive. The man confirms that price is no object. The baker tells him to come back after three...

Law is a Fugue

BWV 895 Law is, metaphorically speaking, a fugue.Desmond Manderson has previously deployed the fugue metaphor to describe the mode with which he would present the aesthetic dimensions of law and justice. Here I am intensifying the metaphor in direct relation to...

Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction

Key Concept Img: Annie Vought | annievought.com Deconstruction by its very nature defies institutionalization in an authoritative definition. The concept was first outlined by Derrida in Of Grammatology where he explored the interplay between language and the...

Cupcake Fascism: Gentrification, Infantilisation and Cake

The Cupcake as Object The cupcake is barely a cake. When we think about what “the cake-like” ideal should be, it is something spongy, moist, characterized by excess, collapsing under its own weight of gooey jam, meringue, and cream. It is something sickly and wet that...

White Feminist Fatigue Syndrome

In her recent piece in Comment is Free, "How feminism became capitalism's handmaiden - and how to reclaim it” Nancy Fraser draws on her own work in political theory to argue that feminism at best has been co-opted by neoliberalism and at worst has been a...

Decolonizing the Teaching of Human Rights?

According to the new Bolivian constitution, education is "one of the most important functions and primary financial responsibilities of the State”; it is “unitary, public, universal, democratic, participatory, communitarian, decolonizing and of quality” (art. 78, I);...

#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics

01. INTRODUCTION: On the Conjuncture 1. At the beginning of the second decade of the Twenty-First Century, global civilization faces a new breed of cataclysm. These coming apocalypses ridicule the norms and organisational structures of the politics which were forged...

Coughing out the Law: Perversity and Sociality around an Eating Table

It was lunchtime at Sydney’s David Jones, Australia’s up-market department store chain. So I headed down to the ‘food floor’. Whenever I have to shop at DJs I try to make sure I go there around midday, precisely so I can go down to the food floor and order the...

Palestinian Resistance: The Political, Social and Human Right of Self-Defense

Once again the bombs are falling on the Gaza Strip, a stretch of territory excised from Palestine proper as a result of continuing illegal and illegitimate actions by Israel. In fact, Gaza has become a closed ghetto, first cut off from Palestine in violation of the...

Punk, Law, Resistance … “I have set my affair on nothing”

1. I, Punk In 1977 I was sixteen. Everything I have to say about punk is coloured by that fact, because sixteen was precisely the right age to be if punk was going to have a decisive impact on you. Because punk was not about your social class, gender or race, it was...

Anonymous & the Discourse of Human Rights

In the last months, we have seen the emergence of ‘Anonymous’. In particular, in the days after the widespread attack on Wikileaks (following their publication of leaked US diplomatic memos) they emerged with a fairly credible threat to take down major global internet...

Power, Violence, Law

Over the last two hundred years, the theory of right, now known as normative jurisprudence, has discovered its vocation in a frantic attempt to legitimise the exercise of power. It carries out this task by declaring that law and power are external to each other...