Nicola Perugini – The Apparatus of Distinction and the Ethics of Violence: On the Construction of Liminal Subjects and Spaces

PTRG seminar series: 14 Dec 2016

Photo: Moyan Brenn

The last Political Theory Research Group seminar of 2016 brings Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon’s interesting paper The Apparatus of Distinction and the Ethics of Violence into discussion. At the very beginning of the paper, the authors quote that “Enemy Leaders look like everyone else. Enemy combatants look like everyone else” and it is this new reality of modern wars that challenges the notion that we are able to make distinctions between combatant and non-combatant, and military and civilian sites. In this paper, they argue that, due to the introduction of the new technology, a status of liminal subjects and spaces is created to legitimize the violence in war. Continue reading

Edinburgh-St. Andrews Political Theory PhD Workshop

On 13 January, our Edinburgh-St.Andrews PhD Political Theory Workshop is taking place. This is an opportunity for PhD students across the two institutions to present and receive feedback on their work. The programme is below. Interested guests are welcome to attend, although please note this is a pre-read event. A write-up of the workshop will be published next week.

PTRG Programme Term II 2017

PTRG Programme Term II 2017

 

18 January, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Chiming Zhong (PIR), On the Methodology of Rights Theory

 

25 January, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Cian O’Driscoll (Glasgow), Victory in the Just War Tradition

 

1 February, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Masa Mrovlje (PIR), Judging Violent Resistances

 

8 February, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Anca Gheaus (Pompeu Fabra), The Best Available Parent

 

15 February, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Kerri Woods (Leeds), TBA

 

1 March, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Chandran Kukathas (LSE), TBA

 

8 March, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Hugh McDonnell (PIR), TBA

 

15 March, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Thomas Fossen (Leiden), Legitimacy, Judgment, and Utopia 

 

22 March, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Lorna Finlayson (Essex), False Consciousness and the Politics of Austerity

 

29 March, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Joe Carens (Toronto), TBA

 

5 April, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Matthew Festenstein (York), TBA

 

26 April, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Raúl Madrid, (Pontifical Catholic University, Chile), Is academic freedom a relative notion? 

 

3 May, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Matthew Chrisman (Philosophy), The Speech Act of Protest

 

10 May, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Tim Hayward (PIR), TBA

 

17 May,3 pm, CMB 2.15

Cormac Mac Amhlaigh, (Law), (Suprastate) Constitutionalism as Ideal Theory

 

22 May, time and location TBC

Amy Allen (Penn State), Joint lecture PTRG and GENDERPOL

 

24 May, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Cat Wayland (PIR), TBA

 

31 May, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Philip Cook (PIR), TBA

 

7th of June, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Jill Poeggel, TBA

 

14 June, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Monica Brito Vieira (York), TBA 

 

21st of June, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Kieran Oberman (PIR) TBA

 

5th of July, 3 pm, CMB 2.15

Alia Al-Saji (McGill University) Glued to the Image: A phenomenology of racialization through works of art (Joint event PTRG, Philosophy, Centre for Cultural Relations)

 

Guy Fletcher – Needing and Necessity

PTRG Write-up: December 7

In “Needing and Necessity,” Guy Fletcher argues that we can better understand thought and talk about ‘needs’ if we learn from recent work on modal terms ‘ought’ and ‘must.’ Further, once we understand what is going on in much of existing needs theory, we have reason to be skeptical of the added value of talking about ‘needs’ rather than the more fundamental moral concept of ‘harm.’  Continue reading

Duncan Bell – Scripting the City: J. G. Ballard among the Architects

This is a write-up of the meeting of the Political Theory Research Group, 30th November 2016.

(Source: Amber Case, flickr.com)

(Source: Amber Case, flickr.com)

The Political Theory Research Group was delighted to welcome Duncan Bell, University of Cambridge, who provided a paper on the English writer J.G. Ballard entitled Scripting the City: J. G. Ballard among the Architects. Continue reading

Mathias Thaler – Hope Abjuring Hope: On the Place of Utopia in Realist Political Theory

PTRG report, 23 November 2016

(Source: RA.AZ on Flickr, CC license)

(Source: RA.AZ on Flickr, CC license)

In this week’s PTRG meeting we discussed Mathias Thaler’s paper ‘Hope Abjuring Hope’. In this paper Mathias seeks to demonstrate the role which radical, utopian thinking ought to play within ‘realist’ political theory. Continue reading

Ethics Forum: Should universities restrict civil disobedience and student activism?

On 18 November 2016, the Just World Institute (with the support of Edinburgh University’s Social Responsibility and Sustainability) organised an Ethics Forum with the title ‘Should universities restrict civil disobedience and student activism?’.  

Read our report below.

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Universities are often a central place for student activism. In recent years, the University of Edinburgh has seen occupations, campaigns, and actions that have put students in confrontation with University management. Across the UK, there have been cases of students being arrested, prosecuted, and suspended for disobedience and activism on their campuses. How tolerant should universities be towards student activism and disobedience? What role does protest serve in higher education institutions? Continue reading

Should Universities Revisit their Colonial Legacies?

On 21 October, the Just World Institute (with the support of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh) organised an Ethics Forum with the title ‘Should Universities Revisit their Colonial Legacies?’. Four speakers presented their views: Dr Nuala Zahedieh (History), Dr Emile Chabal (History), Dr Hazel Gray (African Studies), and Dr Hugh McDonnell (Politics). Read Dr Hugh McDonnell’s talk below:

“The days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over. We should move forward.” So announced former student in the history department here at Edinburgh – Gordon Brown. Speaking in 2005, his remarks chimed with a growing trend of revived imperialism, enlisting a range of opinion from Tony Blair’s advisor Robert Cooper, historian Niall Ferguson, Michael Gove, and even travel presenter Michael Palin.

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What is to Be Done? Political Ontology, Critique and Democratic Politics

What is to Be Done? Political Ontology, Critique and Democratic Politics Roundtable, University of Edinburgh, 18th November 2016

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(L-R: Mihaela Mihai, Oliver Marchart, Aletta Norval, Lois McNay)

On 18th November, the University of Edinburgh hosted a roundtable entitled What is to Be Done? Political Ontology, Critique and Democratic Politics. The roundtable investigated the exciting linkages between inquiries into the ontological underpinnings of politics, and the possibilities and limitations of critique at the present historical juncture. It brought together three renowned scholars on the topic – Aletta Norval (University of Essex), Lois McNay (University of Oxford) and Oliver Marchart (University of Vienna) – who were invited to address three interrelated questions:

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Tim Hayward – Can Benign Leverage Be Relied On to End Global Poverty?

PTRG seminar: Can Benign Leverage Be Relied On to End Global Poverty? 9 November 2016

(Source: Radio Okapi, flickr, CC BY 2.0)

(Source: Radio Okapi, flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Should people maximize the good they can do by earning much money as they can, so they can donate as much as they can to charitable programs? This is the argument of Effective Altruism. This view seems perfectly right to us, but Professor Tim Hayward holds the opposite view. The theme of his paper Can Benign Leverage be Relied on to End Global Poverty is to challenge benign leverage, the assumption of Effective Altruism and to show that it is a problematic solution to overcoming global poverty.

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