1st Edition

Law and Disorder Sovereignty, Protest, Atmosphere

By Illan Rua Wall Copyright 2021
    222 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Focusing on the moment when social unrest takes hold of a populace, Law and Disorder offers a new account of sovereignty with an affective theory of public order and protest.
    In a state of unrest, the affective architecture of the sovereign order begins to crumble. The everyday peace and calm of public space is shattered as sovereign peace is challenged. In response, the state unleashes the full force of its exceptionality, and the violence of public order policing is deployed to restore the affects and atmospheres of habitual social relations. This book is a work of contemporary critical legal theory. It develops an affective theory of sovereign orders by focusing on the government of affective life and popular encounters with sovereignty. The chapters explore public order as a key articulation between sovereignty and government. In particular, policing of public order is exposed as a contemporary mode of exceptionality cast in the fires of colonial subjection. The state of unrest helps us see the ordinary affects of the sovereign order, but it also points to crowds as the essential component in the production of unrest. The atmospheres produced by crowds seep out from the squares and parks of occupation, settling on cities and states. In these new atmospheres, new possibilities of political and social organisation begin to appear. In short, crowds create the affective condition in which the settlement at the heart of the sovereign order can be revisited. This text thus develops a theory of sovereignty which places protest at its heart, and a theory of protest which starts from the affective valence of crowds.
    This book’s examination of the relationship between sovereignty and protest is of considerable interest to readers in law, politics and cultural studies, as well as to more general readers interested in contemporary forms of political resistance.

    Prologue: Sovereign Aesthetics


    Part I: Affective Sovereignty
    1. Atmospheres of Sovereignty
    2. Switching Sovereign Genres
    3. Playing for Hearts and Minds
    4. The Government of Temper
    5. Excursus 1: Affective Life

    Part II: The Apparatus of Public Order
    6. The Sovereign Peace
    7. Signs Taken for Sovereignty
    8. The State of Unrest
    9. Psycho-Affective Public Order
    10. The Coloniality that Remains
    11. Excursus 2: An Affective Theory of Public Order

    Part III: The Crowd and the People
    12. Affective Patterning
    13. A Somnambulist or Turbulent People
    14. The Crowd as Political Technology
    15. Securing the People
    16. Excursus 3: Crowds and Populace

    Part IV: The Enmity of Unrest
    17. The Surprise of Unrest
    18. What Violence Might Assemble
    19. Enmity and the Atmosphere of Violence
    20. Excursus 4: The State of Unrest

    Conclusion: Notes from the Tumult


    Illan rua Wall is Reader at the University of Warwick Law School, UK.

    "Throughout 2020 and into 2021, dissent has increased around governmental strategies and their concomitant police powers. To understand these events and their governance, we need a careful, creative and intelligent book such as Law and Disorder." – Alison Young, University of Melbourne, Australia (Social and Legal Studies, 2021)

    "We emerge from the book all the richer for having been immersed in this eloquent and imaginative account of the theorist as flaneur of crowded spaces." – Emilios Christodoulidis, University of Glasgow, UK (Law & Literature, 2021)

    "For those readers who have not yet had the pleasure of reading Illan rua Wall’s highly original brand of critical legal theory: you are in for a real treat. Paradoxically, this jostling theoretical maelstrom of a book makes you sit still in wonder. By turns funny, erudite, playful and intensely creative on every single page, this is a masterful account of atmosphere, of the politics of the crowd, and of sovereignty." – Ben Golder, University of New South Wales, Australia

    "Law and Disorder is many books. It is a theory of protest, an exploration of the shifting affects of crowds, a methodological weapon and a moving manual for resistance. It explores the subversion of sovereignty as well as the ways that it makes itself present. It is best read with an openness to the political quality of Wall’s writing and its destabilising reimagining of possibilities." – Carolina Olarte, University of the Andes, Bogota, Colombia

    "This is a rare feat of a book, managing to be both politically rousing and affectively engaging, both revolutionary and quietly eavesdropping on the world’s goings-on. Illan rua Wall has produced a text of deep sensitivity, enabling us to rethink the atmospheric affects of public order as an integral part of the sovereign mechanism; placing crowds and protest at the core of the affective life of the populace." – Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, University of Westminster, UK 

    "From order to disorder, from the sovereign to the crowd, from constituted to constituent. This is the disorderly order of resistance Law and Disorder analyses and performs. Wall’s book is a scholarly achievement, a manual for dissidents and an almanac of warnings for the state. Apollinaire created the calligram, poems that illustrate their meaning. Wall has created the (dis)ordergram: a book that performs the disorder of order." - Costas Douzinas, Birkbeck, University of London, UK