If you wish to attend please email studentrep@csls.ox.ac.uk for the Zoom link and a copy of the reading.

Law, Activism and Critique is a reading group open to all postgraduate students who are interested in discussing perspectives that critically engage the role of law in maintaining or breaking local and global imbalances of power. The reading group also hopes to encourage discussion on the role of knowledge in producing new imaginaries. Please take the time to do the readings before the discussion session.

The reading for the session is:

Benjamin, Walter. “Critique of Violence” in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings Volume I 1913-1926, edited by Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. 

What is the relationship between law and violence? What role violence plays in the constitution or adjustment of law? How come legal institutions use violence to regulate violence? Benjamin’s essay is an important text for anyone interested in these questions, hence the relationship of violence to law and justice. In his essay, Benjamin distinguishes different types of violence and looks at the role the latter play in constituting the framework of modern state sovereignty. He expounds the relationship between law and violence, and in turn ruminates on the relationship between law and justice. Using this text and the lens of violence, we will discuss the nexus between politics, ethics and law.