Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

The Politics of Emergency Workshop

13 January 2009 | 9:00am - 5.00pm | Workshop

Blenheim Terrace SR (1.01) House No. 11-14

The aim of the Politics of Emergency Research Programme is to develop an original and comprehensive theoretical analysis of the idea of 'emergency' and the role it plays in contemporary politics and society.

Since 9/11, the language of emergency has played an increasingly prominent role in the political rhetoric of liberal democratic societies. The declaration of emergency has been widely used to justify the creation of new and extraordinary legal and political powers and to excuse the suspension of old and ordinary democratic rights and liberties. More fundamentally, the sense of ongoing emergency has come to pervade and shape the self-perception of Western democratic politics and culture in the Twenty-First Century.

Yet, for all of its influence on our lives, the idea of emergency has been subjected to surprisingly little critical analysis. The sense of emergency and the urgency it is felt to entail have been used in the political discourse as a means of deflecting and bypassing sustained scrutiny of the policies pursued in its name. By developing parallel research projects within and across these areas of inquiry, we address the following key research questions:

  • What are 'emergencies' and where do they come from?
  • How is the idea of emergency deployed and utilised in political action?
  • Can emergency powers be morally justified?
  • How, if at all, should contexts of emergency affect our ethical appraisal of political systems and behaviours?
  • What are the theoretical implications of the new politics of emergency for the balance between liberty and security in public life?
  • What are the broader social, political and ethical consequences of the condition of pervasive and enduring public emergency?

Attendance at this workshop is by invitation only. Please email Dr Derek Edyvane for further details.

Location Details

Bleinheim Terrace is located opposite the main entrance to the University on Woodhouse Lane.

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