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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Thinking against Constituted Law - A response to Oren Ben-Dor Seminar

15 February 2012
Law building, Staff room 2055

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Oren Ben-Dor at .

Event details

Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation (CLEG) seminar

Oren Ben-Dor has argued that "Critical legal scholarship seemed to be capable of being both against the law ... but at the same time still anticipating legal language." He soon after characterises the critical position as, "Going 'out' was merely a way of staying in." But critical legal thinking about constitutional law which overcomes this worry about whether one is against the law, beyond the law, for the law, complicit with the law, in love with the law (as Goodrich alleged) or in whatever relation to the law when one makes critique of the law is possible. For anticipation in relation to legal language is something more than capitulation to legal language. Anticipation is as Ernst Bloch puts it, "expectation, hope, intention to still unbecome possibility"; as Tarik Kochi glosses this, "an anticipatory consciousness ... perceives the unrealised emancipatory potential of the past, latencies and tendencies of the present, and realisable hopes of the future." Applied to Constitutional Law, what can be anticipated in its legal language of sovereignty, of constituting and constituted power, of constitutionality, of rule of law, of separation of powers, of public sphere, of law? Answering this question justifies a practice of critical legal theorising.

Speaker information

Angus MacDonald , University of Staffordshire. Angus currently teaches Constitutional Law and Human Rights in the Law School at Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent; formerly taught Critical Legal Theory. He is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow (LLB with Honours in Jurisprudence and Comparative Law) and Sheffield (MA in Socio-Legal Studies). Active in the Critical Legal Conference since 1988, his research interests grow from an attempt to develop adequate concepts for Constitutional Law, a task defined broadly and including work on cinema, music, literature, and political theory, published in contributions to collections and journals, including recently "I have set my affair on nothing", (Punk, Stirner, Critical Legal Theory) on Critical Legal Thinking, 2011; Power Of Dream/Dream Of Power (Kleist's Prince of Homburg, Prerogative power, Justice) in Mies Vaarasta Tiedekunnasta 2010; Eden/Shangri-la (Theology, Bataille, Beckett, Dorian Gray, Intimacy) in Law and Evil, Routledge,2010; The Law: Like God, Like Sex (Law, Religion, Sciascia, Erotics, Musil) in Contemporary Issues In Law vol 10:4 2010; The Sound Of The Fall, The Truth Of This Movement Of Error in Mark E Smith And The Fall: Art, Music And Politics 2010.

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