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Law and violence

Christoph Menke in dialogue

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Edited by: Christoph Menke

This book focuses on the paradoxical character of law and specifically concerns the structural violence of law as the political imposition of normative order onto a "lawless" condition. The paradox of law which grounds and motivates Christoph Menke's intervention is that law is both the opposite of violence and, at the same time, a form of violence. The book develops its engagement with the paradox of law in two stages. The first shows why, and in what precise sense, the law is irreducibly characterized by structural violence. The second explores the possibility of law becoming self-reflectively aware of its own violence and, hence, of the form of a self-critique of law in view of its own violence. The Book's philosophical claims are developed through analyses of works of drama: two classical tragedies in the first part and two modern dramas in the second part. It attempts to illuminate the paradoxical nature of law by way of a philosophical interpretation of literature. There are at least two normative orders within the European ethical horizon that should be called "legal orders" even though they forego the use of coercion and are thus potentially nonviolent. These are international law and Jewish law. Understanding the relationship between law and violence is one of the most urgent challenges a postmodern critical legal theory faces today. Self-reflection, the philosophical concept that plays a key role in the essay, stands opposed to all forms of spontaneity.

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Democratic inclusion

Rainer Bauböck in dialogue

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Edited by: Rainer Bauböck

This book addresses the major theoretical and practical issues of the forms of citizenship and access to citizenship in different types of polity, and the specification and justification of rights of non-citizen immigrants as well as non-resident citizens. It also addresses the conditions under which norms governing citizenship can legitimately vary. The book discusses the principles of including all affected interests (AAI), all subject to coercion (ASC) and all citizenship stakeholders (ACS). They complement each other because they serve distinct purposes of democratic inclusion. The book proposes that democratic inclusion principles specify a relation between an individual or group that has an inclusion claim and a political community that aims to achieve democratic legitimacy for its political decisions and institutions. It contextualizes the principle of stakeholder inclusion, which provides the best answer to the question of democratic boundaries of membership, by applying it to polities of different types. The book distinguishes state, local and regional polities and argues that they differ in their membership character. It examines how a principle of stakeholder inclusion applies to polities of different types. The book illustrates the difference between consensual and automatic modes of inclusion by considering the contrast between birthright acquisition of citizenship, which is generally automatic, and naturalization, which requires an application.

Open Access (free)

Cinema, democracy and perfectionism

Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue

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Edited by: Joshua Foa Dienstag

This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.