Date(s) - 03/09/2015 - 05/09/2015
University of Wroc?aw, Poland
Offizielle Webseite der Veranstaltung
‘Law, Space and the Political’
The Critical Legal Conference – an annual gathering of critical and radical legal scholars from all over the world – was inaugurated in 1984 at the University of Kent. Since then, the CLC has been held every year, mainly in the UK, also in South Africa, India, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands. The CLC, in contrast to mainstream conferences, is characterised by its informal spirit. As Costas Douzinas put it, it simply ‘has no officers or posts, chairpersons and secretaries, committees or delegates. It was and remains just a conference, an “inoperative community”, a broad church that lives for three days once a year and goes into abeyance once it is over.’
Every year, the conference participants decide where to meet next time. Each conference has its Leitmotiv, the choice of which is left to the hosts. Recently, the main themes of CLCs included ‘Power, Capital, Chaos’ (Brighton, 2014), ‘Reconciliation and Reconstruction’ (Belfast, 2013) or the ‘Gardens of Justice’ (Stockholm, 2012). The underlying idea of the CLC is that the annual theme, chosen by the hosts, is then interpreted in various ways in the form of ‘streams’, submitted at a first stage of organising the event. Once a list of streams is established, in a second stage individual papers are submitted directly to stream convenors. Then the hosts put together the programme of the entire conference, combining plenary sessions and parallel sessions in streams. It is also possible to submit papers directly to the hosts in order for them to be presented as part of the ‘general stream’.
As Costas Douzinas recalls, ‘Over the last forty years, the CLC has introduced a number of themes, approaches and strategies unknown or dismissed by mainstream scholarship. Semiotics, rhetoric, literature, aesthetics and psychoanalysis have helped create a much wider conception of legality of which state law is only one part. A variety of critical schools, such as postmodernism, phenomenology, postcolonialism, critical race, feminism, queer theory, art theory and history, the ethics of otherness, the ontology of plural singularity, the critique of biopolitics and post-politics have been pioneered in the CLC creating a new and stronger link between theory and practice. These conferences were the only academic venues in which such themes were discussed for many years before they became respectable and entered the mainstream.’
In September 2015, for the first time in its history, the Critical Legal Conference will symbolically cross the frontier of the former ‘Iron Curtain’ and take place in Poland, a country of the former Soviet bloc. This will happen quarter of a century following the region’s political and socio-economic transformation from ‘actually existing socialism’ to a mix of political democracy with neoliberally flavoured capitalism. CLC 2015 will be hosted by the University of Wroc?aw Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics in the region of Lower Silesia in south-western Poland.
The choice of this year’s theme – ‘Law, Space and the Political’ – is a concious move aimed at linking the troubled history of our region of Europe with current challenges posed by the on-going crisis. We see the triangular relationship between the legal, the spatial and the political not only through the lens of Chantal Mouffe’s theory of ‘agonistic democracy’, but also as an invitation to reflect upon the political dimension of legal transplants, the tensions within the European ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’, as well as on various other possible aspects, ranging from the spatial dimension of sovereignty to legal proxemics.