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Law, Politics, and the State: a Strategic-Relational Approach to Law

Date: 1 June 2011 Time: 12 noon

Venue: C89, Bowland North

Christos Boukalas - ESRC Post-Doctorate research Fellow in Law, will present his work in progress

Everyone is very Welcome

Abstract:

This paper introduces a 'strategic-relational' approach to law, presenting the notion of the 'law form' as pivotal in understanding the relation between law and politics. Developed mainly in relation to the state, the strategic-relational approach conceptualises the latter as a social relation and as a strategic terrain and agency of social dynamics. In its context, the 'state form' is a nodal notion referring to the historically-specific articulation among the institutions and strategic orientations of the state, and its relation to the population. Consequently, the strategic-relational approach to law conceptualises the latter as a social relation -a particular codification of social and state dynamics. On this basis, and partly as an attempt to overcome the binary between "rule of law" and "state of exception", the notion of the 'law form' is introduced, to refer to the historically-specific articulation among the institutional shape of the legal system, its relation to other state apparatuses and the population, its operational modalities and areas of application, and the content of the legal framework. As law constitutes a blueprint of the institutional outset of the state and a strategic codification of its powers, the law form provides important indications regarding the state form. To highlight this interrelation between law, state, and politics, the paper proceeds to a brief examination of main shifts in the law form over the course of the last 40 years in reference to shifts in the state form.

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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