It has been a long time since “philosophy of law” lost its self-evidence and was replaced by the transdisciplinary problematisation of the very conjunction “law” and “philosophy”. Here, each proper name would come to be understood in its own disciplinary-cum-institutional positivity, even as the two variously reflect upon and attempt to locate their own justification in the other. At times, the two appear indistinguishable, at others rift by antinomian and, perhaps above all, anti-Roman disputes, often tied to a third in this series: “religion”. Yet today, with law’s social power effectively displaced by the auto-poetic movement (and crisis management) of a naturalistically conceived society or economy, and with philosophy’s endless speculation replaced in turn, by the pragmatism of the social sciences, neither conjunct seems able to retain even its individual self-evidence.
This problem of the self-evidence and reflexive study of philosophy and law has been critically taken up over the past fifty years by two fields of study: the geographically delineated space of Contemporary European Philosophy, on the one hand, and the transatlantic development of Critical Legal Studies, on the other. However, these respective trajectories have each, in examining the presuppositions and potential historical exhaustion of their own discipline, discovered an immanent proximity to the other. Critical Legal Studies' pursuit of the extra-legal violence behind legal order has led towards an explicitly philosophical problematic: a proletarian and racial foundation-exclusion in its Althusserian and Critical-Race-theroetical variants, respectively; “blood” following the Foucauldians, or bloßes Leben following the Benjaminian-Derrideans. Philosophy’s attempt to problematise its own closed-loop of discursive self-sufficiency has led it towards a genealogical or negative dialectical confrontation with the positivity of law – whether in the understanding that the 'deconstruction' of metaphysics is the reconstruction of legal history and the drama of Roman fictions, or in the central investment, today, of categories such as "constitution", "commons" and indeed "institution" in general.
This Techne Symposium brings together speakers variously drawing upon and at the interstice of these two entwined lines of thought and their institutions. It will discuss what remains of these two perhaps anachronistic positivities and how the site of their encounter might provide one of the few critically anti-naturalistic views onto the contemporary world.
26th January 2022
(John Galsworthy Building Room 4010)
14:00 Opening Remarks and Welcome
14:30-15:50 Xenia Chiaramonte, Instituting and the Place of Critique
16:10-17:30 Gerardo Muñoz, What "ius"? Principles and Institutions at the End of Modern Politics
(John Galsworthy Building Room 3002)
18:00-19:30 Norman Ajari, Peculiar Institutions: Negrophobia and Black Instituent Power
19:30 Reception for publication of Norman Ajari's Dignity or Death: Ethics and Politics of Race
27th January 2022
(John Galsworthy Building Room 5003)
11:00-12:30 Étienne Balibar, Hegel, Marx, Pashukanis and the Idea of Abstract Right as a Bourgeois Form
12:30-14:00 Michele Spanò, Patrimony and the Legal Institution of Subjectivity
15.00-16:30 Idris Robinson, De-instituting Gewalt: Destruction or Desertion
16:30-18:00 Marina Vishmidt, From Institutional to Infrastructural Critique