Critical Legal Conference 2013

Being Social

Stream Organisers: Tara Mulqueen (Birkbeck Law School) and Dan Mathews (Birkbeck Law School)

In this stream, we would like to reflect on the difficulties of articulating or finding a space for the question of the social (and legal) bond in poststructuralist theory. Nancy, Derrida and Foucault, for example, have all been accused of a particular sort of nihilism in which the possibility of thinking about actual social relations is rendered impossible. This stream invites engagement with the question of “being social” in poststructuralist thought, with a particular emphasis on the work of Nancy, Blanchot, Derrida, Bataille and Foucault. We are particularly interested in papers which would bring this line of questioning to bear on contemporary issues, and specifically pertaining to the conference’s theme of reconstruction. What “reconstruction” might be possible after the “deconstruction” of the social bond offered by Foucault, Derrida, Nancy et al.? Does reconstructing the social bond with, or in light of, poststructuralist thought escape old concerns with sovereignty, community and ipseity or reshape and recast these questions anew? Papers might assess: 

  • The social bond and in relation to questions of ontology
  • The relationship between “the social” and “the political”
  • The impact (or lack thereof) that the thinking of Blanchot, Derrida, Nancy et al has had on praxis, decision and resistance
  • The resources, if any, that we find in the poststructural engagement with democracy for deepening democracy in existing institutions and communities
  • How being shapes, reshapes and reconstructs the world
  • Questions of transgression in relation to the legal and social bond

Please send paper abstracts of 300 words to either Tara Mulqueen ( or Dan Matthews ( before the 15 June 2013 deadline.

Back to Call for Papers 

QUB Lanyon Building

Belfast City Hall

Photo of H&W cranes
Photo of H&W cranes

QUB Gates

Stormont Building

Beacon of Hope Sculpture