Crime, Sovereignty, and the State: On the Metaphysics of Global Disorder

Crime, Sovereignty, and the State: On the Metaphysics of Global Disorder

Thursday, 31 May 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Venue: 
Investcorp Lecture Theatre
Speaker(s): 
Jean Comaroff (Harvard) and John Comaroff (Harvard)
Convenor: 
Faisal Devji (St Antony's) and David Priestland (St Edmund Hall)
Series: 
Rethinking the Contemporary: The World since the Cold War

This lecture explores the global preoccupation with criminality in the early twenty-first century, a preoccupation strikingly disproportionate, in most places and for most people, to the risks posed by lawlessness to the conduct of everyday life. Ours in an epoch in which law-making, law-breaking, and law-enforcement are ever more critical registers in which societies construct, contest, and confront truths about themselves. It argues that, as the result of a tectonic shift in the triangulation of capital, the state, and governance, the meanings attached to crime and, with it, the nature of policing, have undergone significant change; also, that there has been a palpable muddying of the lines between legality and illegality, between corruption and conventional business – even between crime-and-policing, which exist, nowadays, in ever greater, hyphenated complicity.

Organised with support from the First World War and Global Religions AHRC-funded project, All Souls College, the Asian Studies Centre of St Antony’s College, the Global History Centre and the Centre for European History, both at the Faculty of History.