DL extended to Sunday, 26 March 2023
THE VIOLENCE OF LAW
In most legal and political discourses, law is usually associated with peace and the search for peaceful solutions to social conflicts. Nevertheless, while law and the rule of law are touted as the antonym of violence, law itself is a key source of violence. In many contexts, law accelerates violence, rather than preventing it, and as violence is the precondition for law enforcement, law operates by leveraging the imposition of violence or its threat. Law is always about power positions, and this power is always underpinned by violence.
Law, understood as a complex, contradictory system of rules and practices, can be violent on multiple levels. Firstly, violence unfolds through policies such as “tough-on-crime” campaigns, via law-making activities setting the boundaries of legal violence, or through other legal-definitional processes, also those unrelated to criminal policy, conferring or withdrawing status, benefits and effective access to rights. Secondly, legal violence is deployed not only by the agencies of state apparatus, but also by an increasingly complex range of legally enabled private actors involved in the causation of pollution harms, massive-scale exploitation, and the expropriation of common resources. Thirdly, the violence of law is reproduced at the executive level by different sanctionary and enforcement techniques, which, more or less arbitrarily, give concrete expression to legal provisions and judicial decisions. Finally, law’s violence is heavily present in a discursive dimension. Discourses in legal documents can have vast social and material consequences for the position of their subjects, reinforcing the conceptions about the way in which certain acts, behaviours or groups of people should be treated in society.
In selectively discriminating between legally acceptable harmful acts and behaviours to be criminally sanctioned, law also sets the boundaries of emancipatory aspirations, administers the social distribution of suffering, and influences people’s thoughts, actions and wellbeing. The forms that law’s violence can take within the structural violence of capitalist social relations are manifold, spanning from purely interpersonal to organizational violence, environmental violence, workplace violence, gendered violence, racialized violence and a panoply of violent practices inherited from colonialism.
The conference critically explores the role of law in violence production and the ways in which law permits or fails to prevent harmful practices beyond their legal qualification, and amplifies levels of social injustice, both locally and globally. In particular, we invite presentations/interventions addressing violence in the context of the multi-faceted and interconnected forms of suffering that we are currently facing, including (but not limited to) the energy crisis, the rise in the cost of living, States’ refusal to protect refugees, climate change, the rise of the far right and authoritarianism, and the ongoing wars in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The conference will also explore the intended and unintended consequences of legal interventions that seek resolutions to social conflicts.
We invite scholars, experts, practitioners and activists to reflect on the violence of law and to contribute to the conference with papers, panels, roundtables, poster presentations or other forms of performance. We encourage you to submit proposals beyond the traditional academic papers, especially formats that enable discussion/interaction and the development of collaborative and mutually respectful dialogue and discussion.
Please submit a summary of your contribution (max 600 words) by Sunday, 26 March 2023 via the following link: https://konsta.utu.fi/Default.aspx?tabid=88&tap=14531. You will also be asked to select the working group you would like to present in.
EG will be able to provide financial support in the form of a limited number of grants available to support students, people unemployed and people working on fixed-term contracts to attend the conference. For further information please email email@example.com.
Conf. Coordinators: Anne Alvesalo-Kuusi, Carlo Gatti, Emma Holkeri, Nea Lepinkäinen and Hanna Malik. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Registration for the conference will open mid April. The fee depends primarily on the support from the institution of the participant (or lack thereof) and for those without institutional support, on the participant’s income level as follows:
1. Participant with support from their institution – 200 euros
2. Participant without support from their institution:
- Full/associate professor or other high earner – 130 euros
- Other – 80 euros
- Those with no regular income (e.g. student, unemployed, full-time activist) – 30 euros
Below, you will find information on traveling to Turku and finding accommodation in Turku.