Monthly Archives: April 2016

Lukas Slothuus – Transgressive dissent in liberal states

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 27 Apr 2016

PTRG seminar 27Apr16

Lukas’s paper examines the distinctions between permissible and impermissible or transgressive dissent in liberal states. He notes the apparent inconsistency in some legal and political decisions between the decision makers’ commitment to a broadly Millian principle of freedom of speech on the one hand and their enforcement of decisions which contravene this principle on the other. Thus while these people should only place restrictions on those cases of dissenting speech which lead to harm, they seem to also place restrictions in instances where it appears that the harm principle is not violated. Continue reading

Catherine Lu – Justice and Reconciliation in International Relations

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 19 Apr 2016

Slavery monument, Zanzibar Photo: Seyemon

Slavery monument, Zanzibar
Photo: Seyemon

How should we think theoretically and historically about the aftermath of conflicts? In a chapter from her forthcoming book Justice and Reconciliation in International Relations, Catherine Lu argues that two distinct frameworks for rectifying historic injustice can contribute through a fruitful interaction: interactional injustice and structural injustice. In the literature, the focus is usually on an interactional framework, in which a direct line of responsibility and wrongdoing by one party upon another is mapped. For instance, in the Iraq War civilians who lost family members due to US bombings could be given monetary compensation. Continue reading

Kieran Oberman – Immigration, Citizenship, and Consent: What is Wrong with Permanent Alienage?

Photo: Frank Roche

Photo: Frank Roche

Every single country in the world has a policy of naturalisation. This means that once an immigrant who is not a citizen of their country of residence fulfils certain criteria, they can obtain citizenship of their country of residence. In some cases, naturalisation is fairly straightforward, particularly in South American countries. Here, it sometimes only takes a few years of permanent residence in order to qualify for citizenship. In other countries, naturalisation is very difficult. In Italy, a person is required to have had at least ten years of continuous permanent residence in order to be eligible for naturalisation. However, there is currently no country on the planet that does not have a policy of naturalisation, even if some countries are extremely strict in granting citizenship to non-citizens. With increasing levels of international migration flows, naturalisation is becoming an important issue for more and more people. Continue reading

Simon Hope – Idealization, Justice, and the Form of Practical Reason

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 13 Apr 2016

Photo: AndrewHorne (talk)

Photo: AndrewHorne (talk)

In recent years, it has often been argued that political theory is too abstracted from reality. Realists contend that when political theory begins from abstract principles about how society ought ideally to be structured it misses what is distinctive about politics: the ineliminable role of power, conflict and historical context. Debates about idealisation in political theory question if and to what extent facts about the world should be incorporated into normative theorising. The first is about where political thought should start (normativity or politics), the second about the fact-sensitivity of normative theory (more or less idealisation). Continue reading

Bashir Saade – ISIS and Game of Thrones: The Global between Tradition, Identity and the Politics of Spectacle

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 6 Apr 2016

Photo: Anonymous Iraqi citizens in Iraq

Bashir Saade’s paper offers a far-reaching discussion of issues surrounding identity, authority, and tradition, considered with reference to ISIS. A central objective of Bashir’s paper is to examine the relationship between modern audio-visual technologies and cultural identities, more specifically he looks to address how ISIS combines cutting edge AV practices with repeated attempts to harken back to historical social configurations. Related to this is his attempt to assess the extent to which ISIS can be said to be an Islamic organisation. Here he considers how ISIS ideologues employ highly selective excerpts from scriptural and historical texts in order to legitimise acts of extreme violence. Continue reading

Global Epidemics and Social Justice

health worker

Health Worker at Ebola Isolation Ward in Kabala, Sierra Leone. UN Photo: Marine Perret

By Markus Fraundorfer

Imagine a virus which kills a person within days causing horrible pain and suffering. Imagine this virus spreads within weeks, or even days, from city to city, from country to country, crossing state boundaries as if they never existed. Imagine this virus travels by aeroplane crossing oceans and continents without the slightest obstacle. Imagine that during its long journeys this virus infects hundreds of thousands of people. And imagine, there is no vaccine or successful treatment available. This is not the storyline of a thrilling novel; it is the storyline of what could have happened in 2014, the year of the most dangerous outbreak of Ebola since the virus was detected in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The most lethal strain of the Ebola virus, with a mortality rate ranging between 70 and 90 percent, can kill a person within several days. Continue reading

Masa Mrovlje – Existential Aesthetic Judging Sensibility, Worldly Recognition and the Political Significance of Narrative Imagination: Confronting the Tragic Nature of Political Affairs

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 30 Mar 2016

Hannah Arendt Photo: Wikipedia

Hannah Arendt
Photo: Saibo

In contemporary political philosophy, particularly in transitional justice debates, narrative has been taken to play a prominent practical role.  Thinkers such as Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty and Paul Ricoeur have argued that narrative-inspired imagination is able to facilitate our capacity of critical and reflective political judgement and public deliberation.  Critics, meanwhile, have questioned this ability of narrative. Continue reading