Shtip Head

Law and Ideology: Borders, Identity and Spatial (In)Justice

6th International Workshop on Law&Ideology. Štip, North Macedonia, 8-9 June 2020

At the end of the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant noticed that limited spatial resources bring people and communities closer to each other, what eventually causes tensions and conflicts. In this situation, either further escalation of the conflict towards violence or mutual communication aimed at developingcoexistence rules that are acceptable for the widest possible group is possible. For Kant, the latter solution, that guarantees „perpetual peace”, was the most rational and probable. The final embodiment of these ideas was the discourse of globalization, indicating the processes of blurring and disappearance of borders between states, cultures and legal systems, what was to trigger unprecedented eruptions of creativity, activity and interpersonal cooperation. The optimistic vision of „the end of history” by Francis Fukuyama was accompanied by the symbolic end of borders embodied in the demolition of the Berlin Wall.

However, on the thirtieth anniversary of this event, in various places around the world the walls are rising rather than falling: Israel has separated itself from the Palestinian Occupied Territories by the infamous separation wall made of concrete; Viktor Orbán fenced Hungary to stop the influx of refugees. The most intensive discussions are being centered on the Donald Trump’s „the wall” between the United States and Mexico, which has become almost a phantasmatic frontier that haunts our populist times. The border always strengthens the identities of the parties it separates, putting them at the same time in opposition and conflict. The appearance of „the wall” has simultaneously activated a complicated apparatus of repression and law, which on the one hand introduces and maintains borders, and on the other, counteracts and deconstructs them.

That is why during this year’s Law & Ideology workshop we would like to discuss the phenomenon of divisions in space, especially in the context of law and politics.

Space in theoretical or socio-legal projects rarely has been seen as an important topic. However, one shall note that there is no life-sphere without spatiality. According to German sociologist Martina Löw, even the very process of formation of space reflects social processes. Therefore, the existence of space depends on man-made structures – the creation of space is usually defined by social goods, people and their mutual relations. Analysis of space is possible only ifthese elements are taken into account. Therefore, we assume that space is a category that can be used to form a social theory.

According to British geographer Doreen Massey, space is established through interactions – both in the micro and macro scale. Moreover, space is being constantly constructed as it is, in a way,  context for social processes. Therefore, the recognition of space and social issues should be combined.

Spatial influences can be understood both as great geopolitical strategies and modest internal institutional arrangements used to shape or supervise the subjects residing in a particular space. It is worth emphasizing that the production of space has a political-economic dimension. As Foucault points out, we can analyze the relationship between power and knowledge only on the basis of spatial observation. According to him, creating space is a manifestation of authority, which is associated with disciplinary power. For example, the space made it possible to control people without police intervention thanks to the suitable arrangement of buildings.

One of the tools that can be used to analyze these phenomena is the concept of spatial justice. It can be understood on several levels. As Gordon Pirie wrote, the concept of spatial justice can be considered as „social justice in space” (Pirie 1983: 471). In this sense, spatial justice – as social justice applied in space – focuses mainly on the rules for the distribution of various goods and rights in space. Already at this level, the issue becomes complex due to the coexistence of different concurring theories of justice. It turns out that space is not only an area of distribution, but in itself it functions as a tool for both creating and manifesting social phenomena.

According to Henri Lefebvre, each society produces its own kind of space. For instance, in neo-capitalist society, space is based on the division of places that should be connected with each other, e.g. by highways. Thus, the state not only manages the existing space, but also creates it. It contributes to the reproduction of the conditions of power by controlling space and building a hierarchy of places through spatial division and ghettoization. Such space is state-controlled and hierarchical at the same time. It is possible to measure it and assess its value by market tools and what is more, the property relations change, leading to space fragmentation.

Going further, we can speak of spatial injustice, which can be understood as a process, as geographies or distributional patterns that lead to unfair allocation of social resources (Soja, 2009: 3). It is commonly pointed out that while  it may be quite easy to recognize spatial injustice, huge difficulties are associated with describing the mechanisms of its creation and maintenance.

As can be noticed, spatial (in)justice is a source of and a tool for divisions, especially in the context of (re)distribution. This topic is worth examining in the framework of the role of law and politics or maybe more broadly – , regarding the impact of political, economic and social factors on the construction of space. This is what our workshop is intended for.

Suggested presentations topics may include, but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Political ideology and the spatial planning (zoning) law
  • Law and ideology and the division between public and private space
  • Legal basis of ideologically grounded borders and divisions in space
  • Legal tools for shaping collective social memory in space
  • Spatial justice and different philosophical concepts of justice
  • Legal and ideological pluralism and territoriality
  • Neoliberalism and the legal grounds for commercialization of public space
  • Law, space and the common good
  • Legal (over)regulation of public space/juridization of public space
  • Spatial dimension of human rights and the discussion on universalism of human rights
  • Public space as the place of political protest
  • Public space as the area of populism
  • Feminist perspective on legal geography
  • Ecological perspective on legal geography
  • Cities, capitalist development and law
  • Socialization by space
  • Architecture of law
Applications and Conference Fee

Abstracts of 300-500 words should be submitted by the 31st of March 2020.
We will inform about acceptance of papers by the 15th of April 2020.
Applications should be submitted by EasyChair.
Whilst there is 50 euro conference fee, all potential participants are kindly informed that we are not able
to offer any scholarships.

About the International Workshops on Law and Ideology

The International Workshops on Law and Ideology have been organised since 2014 jointly by the Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory (CLEST) University of Wrocław and partner institutions in other countries. The first workshop was held in May 2014 in Wrocław and was devoted to a general exploration of the of theme of ‘law and ideology’, in particular from the perspectives of Marx, Lacan, Foucault and Žižek. The second workshop, held in Sarajevo in May 2015, was cohosted by CLEST and the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo and was devoted to Memories of Struggles, Struggles of Memories. As selection of papers from the 1st and 2nd Workshop were published in June 2016 in the Wrocław Review of Law, Administration and Economics (volume 5, issue 1). The 3rd Workshop was organised jointly by CLEST and the Faculty of Law, University of Tbilisi and was devoted to Rule of Law and the Politics of Conflict. The fourth workshop („Adjudication and the Political”) was co-organized by CLEST in Timisoara (Romania) in 2017. The last workshop „Central and Eastern European Constitutional Liberal Democracy in Crisis”, was organized at European Humanities Univesrity in Vilinus.

Organizing committee

Piotr Eckhardt (CLEST, Jagiellonian University)
Karolina Kocemba (CLEST, University of Wrocław)
Olga Koshevaliska (Goce Delchev University)
Michał Stambulski (CLEST, University of Zielona Góra)
Strashko Stojanovski (Goce Delchev University)