Free

ADI Lecture: “Constituent Power and Political Disobedience”

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Burwood Corporate Centre, Deakin University

221 Burwood Highway

Burwood, VIC 3125

Australia

View Map

Friends Who Are Going
Event description

Description

Public lecture: Prof. William E. Scheuerman

“Constituent Power and Political Disobedience: From the European Enlightenment to the Global Present”

Abstract:

The idea of constituent (or constitution-making) power, conceived as the popular, extralegal source of legitimate constitutional order, emerged in the revolutionary upheavals of eighteenth-century Europe. Formulated perhaps most impressively by the French revolutionary intellectual Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, the concept was rediscovered --and reformulated-- in 1920s Germany by Carl Schmitt, the reactionary nationalist.

By tracing various attempts among Frankfurt School critical theorists (i.e., Otto Kirchheimer, Franz Neumann, and Jürgen Habermas) to respond critically to both Schmitt’s counterrevolutionary and previous revolutionary ideas of constituent power, we can make better sense of how the Frankfurt School’s political project has evolved since the 1930s. Simultaneously, we gain a critical vantage point for examining attempts among contemporary radical theorists (e.g., Etienne Balibar, Tony Negri) to salvage the idea of constituent power to undergird their own political aims.

Building on the Frankfurt School legacy, I argue that constituent power remains at its core a revolutionary concept poorly suited to thinking about the challenges of political change in more-or-less liberal societies. Civil disobedience, conceived as radical-reformist yet post-revolutionary extra-legal protest, transcends classical revolutionary politics and notions of constituent power welded to it. To the extent that it can claim successfully to do so, however, depends in part on whether contemporary liberal societies circumvent authoritarian-populist regressions



About the speaker

Professor Scheuerman, one of the world’s leading legal and political thinkers, is the author of Between the Norm and the Exception: The Frankfurt School and the Rule of Law; Carl Schmitt: the End of Law; Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time; Frankfurt School Perspectives on Globalisation, Democracy and the Law; the editor of several collections including The Rule of Law Under Siege; and articles in Constellations, International Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, Politics & Society, Social Research & many others.

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Burwood Corporate Centre, Deakin University

221 Burwood Highway

Burwood, VIC 3125

Australia

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved