State of Exception, Law and Economy: A socio-legal approach to the economic of exception in an era of crisis
Coordinators: José Atiles (University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus), David Whyte (University of Liverpool)
Our experience in Oñati
The central theme of the workshop was the development of a fresh socio-legal understanding of the relationship between the economy, law and state power in the 21st century. The theoretical point of departure for the workshop was the concept of the state of exception. The concept was developed by a number of leading philosophers, political theorists and legal theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and latterly, Giorgio Agamben, in ways that allow us to understand the philosophical and legal premises of political state power. The workshop brought together scholars to apply the concept of the state of exception to an advanced understanding of colonial and economic state power. Participants in the workshop were therefore asked to conduct case studies that explicitly applied the concept of the state of exception to colonial and economic relationships. The workshop heard papers on the following topics: Exceptionality in war; the colonial relationship between the US and Puerto Rico; the racial and gender dimensions of biopolitics; the corporation as a structure of exception; the enforcement of corporate liability in Finland; resistance in PIGS countries as part of the financial crisis; the use of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process; British colonialism and exceptional legal power; debt colonialism; the militarisation and impoverishment of communities in Colombia; and the state of exception in Palestine. This was the first meeting of the participants in this workshop. We plan to meet again as a ‘network’, and for this purpose we have established an International Research Collaborative within the Law and Society Association that we hope will enable us to develop our theoretical approach – bringing colonial and economic power to the concept of the state of exception - as a key reference point in socio-legal approaches to understanding the legal basis for political and economic power.