The Public Life of Private Law: Theories and Strategies


Event Date: 18 January 2013

Keynes College
Canterbury Campus
The University of Kent,
Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

The Kent  Law School presents:
The Public Life of Private Law

An ESRC Seminar Series

Seminar 1: Theories and Strategies

The first seminar begins to think through some of the terms, the strategies and the theoretical frameworks that we will rely upon and develop throughout the series. To begin with, we will pose three sets of questions:

  • On a theoretical level, what can be revealed in the various relations between private law and the political? Is private law opened up by framing it through the political, or is the political juridified and diminished in this process? Are there possibilities of alternative legalities or ways of being political that such a framing could open?
  • To what extent does private law theory make space for political concerns? Silences here are perhaps more interesting even than express statements. What alternative concepts does it deploy in framing the political? What clashes of perspective and understanding are evident between theories of private law and theories of the political?
  • On a strategic level, what opportunities for political action are present in the conflictual spaces between political endeavour and private legality? What does it mean to resort to, or to be subject to private law in the context of political action? What frustrations, inhibitions or violences are produced in such a turn, and is private law open to unruly subjects, or only to rational strategists?

Speakers include:  Emilios Christodoulidis (Glasgow), Alan Norrie (Warwick), Davina Cooper (Kent), Melanie Williams (Exeter), Adam Gearey (Birkbeck), Sarah Keenan (SOAS),  Matthew Stone (Essex),  Kristen Rundle (LSE), Emily Grabham (Kent) and Anne Barron (LSE).


Panel 1

1- Adam Gearey (Birkbeck) – Towards A Critique of the Pension Trust  

2 – Emilios Christodoulidis (Glasgow) – On the Politics of the Public/Private Law Distinction: What Does It Mean to Sustain the Politics of a Lost Distinction?

3 – Alan Norrie (Warwick) – Criminal Justice and the Public/ Private Distinction


Panel 2

4 – Anne Barron (LSE) – The Public Life of Copyright Law

5 – Kristen Rundle (LSE) – Legality in the Contracting Out State: Cues from the Case of Jimmy Mubenga


Panel 3

6 – Melanie Williams (Exeter)– Imagining Freedoms, Public and Private – Feminist Science Fiction and Ideological Symbolism

7 – Davina Cooper (Kent)– Social Property and Political Struggle


Panel 4

8 – Matthew Stone (Essex)– Private Law and Public Subjectivity: The Case of Biopolitics and Property

9 – Sarah Keenan (SOAS)– Holding Up Subversive Property

All panel discussions can be found here (password protected)

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