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See detailCRITICAL QUARTERLY ON LEGISLATION AND LAW 3/2015, SPECIAL ISSUE ON FRANK MICHELMAN, JUDICIAL REVIEW AND SOCIOECONOMIC RIGHTS: EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Kritische Vierteljahresschrift für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft (2015), 2015/3

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See detailThe Literary Exception: Reflections on Agamben’s “Liberal Democratic” Political Theology and the Religious Destabilisation of the Political in Our Time
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in New Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Journal of Central and East European Politics and International Relations (2015), 23(1), 15-44

The concern with stabilising the political and avoiding the excessive deployments of coercive force by totalitarian political imaginations is usually associated with political liberalismand liberal ... [more ▼]

The concern with stabilising the political and avoiding the excessive deployments of coercive force by totalitarian political imaginations is usually associated with political liberalismand liberal political theory. It is rarely associated with political theology and conceptions of sovereignty that are based on political theology. The unique contribution of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben to contemporary political theory is the opportunity it offers to contemplate the stabilisation of the political in terms of political theology and not in terms of typical rule of law arguments that one would associate with political liberalism. The aim of this article is to trace and question some of the essential thoughts on the basis of which Agamben puts forward the idea of the called existence of the Christian community. It does so in order to put forward, in response, an argument for a literary community that has much in common with Agamben’s conception of the Christian ekklesia, but ultimately also differs fromit in certain important respects. The argument for a literary community that is developed ultimately has more in common with Nancy’s conception of an “inoperative community”. The article also offers a close scrutiny of Agamben’s engagement with the work of Carl Schmitt. This scrutiny of Agamben’s engagement with Schmitt is crucial for the argument that the article forwards, considering the way in which Schmitt’s work is with good reason historically linked to exactly the kind of political theology that destabilises rather than stabilises the political. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen Time Gives. Reflections on Two Rivonia Renegades
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Allo, Awol (Ed.) The Court Room as a Space of Resistance. Reflections on the Legacy of the Rivonia Trial (2015)

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See detailTimeo Danais dona ferre and the Constitution that Europeans may one day have given themselves
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous (Ed.) Constitutional Sovereignty and Social Solidarity in Europe (2015)

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See detailConstitutional Sovereignty and Social Solidarity in Europe
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL; Ellsworth, Jeffrey UL

Book published by Nomos/Bloomsbury (2015)

The essays in this book respond in different ways to questions regarding sovereignty, constitutionality and social solidarity in the European Union. Some of the essays perceive a threefold deficit in this ... [more ▼]

The essays in this book respond in different ways to questions regarding sovereignty, constitutionality and social solidarity in the European Union. Some of the essays perceive a threefold deficit in this regard – a constitutionality, sovereignty and solidarity deficit. The common view that can be distilled from them relates to a perception that the people and peoples of the European Union have drifted into a quagmire of political paralysis within which essential features of the paralysis – lack of constitutionality, lack of sovereignty and lack of social solidarity – feed off one another. Lack of solidarity, not only between European citizens, but also between Member States of the European Union, derails all possibilities of common political initiative, fervour and purpose. And absence of such common initiative, fervour and purpose quite evidently explains the faltering of Europe’s constitutional project and the reduction of this project to that which Jürgen Habermas has come to call Europe’s “mindless incrementalism.” Unable to arrive at the constitutionality that would allow for the emergence of European sovereignty, the faltering constitutional process has only managed to dismantle essential elements of sovereignty and social solidarity within the Member States of the European Union. This has led to the double edged lack of sovereignty (lack of sovereignty at EU level and lack of sovereignty in the Member States) that has lead Dieter Grimm to observe (also in his contribution to this book) that there may well be no true sovereign left in Europe today. Against this background, it is perhaps no surprise that a non-sovereign body would step in to take over the responsibilities of sovereign government, and do so on the basis of the only principle that appears prima facie legitimate under circumstances of political paralysis, namely, the ordo-liberal principle of reducing politics to guardianship of free competition between individuals that replaces constitutional law with competition law; hence the crucial role that the market-liberalisation jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice have come to play in the non-sovereign or surreptiously-sovereign way Europe is governed today. To be sure, not all the essays in this book share this grim view. A number of them discern an emergence of new forms of democracy or even new forms of political legitimacy in the complex structures of multi-level governance in the European Union. Between them, however, the spectrum of essays that make up this book undoubtedly provides the reader with a comprehensive study of the key issues of European politics and law today. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE HORIZONTAL EFFECT REVOLUTION AND THE QUESTION OF SOVEREIGNTY
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

Book published by Walter de Gruyter - 1st (2014)

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See detailLAW, UTOPIA, EVENT A Constellation of Two Trajectories
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Sarat, Austin; Douglas, Lawrence; Umphrey, Martha (Eds.) Law and the Utopian Imagination (2014)

This paper concerns the fundamental transformation of the utopian imagination in the course of the twentieth century. This transformation became abundantly evident in certain prominent trends in twentieth ... [more ▼]

This paper concerns the fundamental transformation of the utopian imagination in the course of the twentieth century. This transformation became abundantly evident in certain prominent trends in twentieth century philosophical thinking. Philosophy’s role in this transformation was probably as performative as it was constative. Philosophy or at least some philosophy reflected or registered this transformation clearly but in doing so also contributed to it. The transformation of the utopian imagination was, however, not just the work of philosophers. It was also reflected in and effected by artistic and literary intuitions. Paul Celan’s poetry was surely an eminent case in point. The trend of philosophical, artistic and literary thinking at issue here can be described, very broadly, in terms of a resistance to the way language and the exigencies of clear communication reduce the utterly incomparable uniqueness of singular entities or persons or events to repeatable and generic instances of fixed identity and stable meaning. At issue in this trend is what one might call, following Theodor Adorno, a negative-linguistic quest for the non-identity of singular existence that transcends or exceeds the identity-forging thrust of conceptual language. This negative-linguistic quest is utopian because of the way it contemplates the possibility of the impossible, as Jacques Derrida put it when he received the Adorno prize in 2001. It contemplates completely non-instrumental relations between individuals that would not subject anyone to the systematic instrumentalisation at work in all generalising conceptual schemes. What is the transformation of the utopian imagination in the philosophical, artistic and literary movements at stake here? What was the utopian imagination like before twentieth century philosophy and poetry and art changed it? The utopian imagination began with Plato and endured for many centuries – in the thoughts of thinkers such as St. Francis, More, Rousseau and Marx – as a very topical and typical denunciation of private property. It typically viewed private property as the source of all social injustice and all forms of societal alienation. The utopian imagination thus became a very predictable and generic socialist resistance against the institution of private property before it turned, already to some extent in the work of Marx and then very evidently in the work of Adorno and other neo-Marxists, into a much more radical questioning of linguistic or conceptual propriety as such. This radical questioning of linguistic propriety – what Celan describes as the wish of language itself to turn away from its regular quest for meaning so as to reach back into the absurd – was, however, surely not just a Marxist or neo-Marxist development. It reflected a broader movement in twentieth century thinking that was also clearly evident in the strands of twentieth century philosophical thinking that became known as phenomenology, post-structuralism and deconstruction. [less ▲]

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See detailLaw and the Space of Appearance in Arendt’s thought
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Goldoni, Marco; McCorkindale, Chris (Eds.) Hannah Arendt and the Law (2012)

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See detailTotemic Immimanence
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Motha, Stewart (Ed.) Reading Modern Law (2012)

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See detailRethinking the Fundamental Structures of the State with Reference to the Horizontal Application of Fundamental Rights
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Sachs, Michael (Ed.) Der grundrechtsgeprägte Verfassungsstaat. Festschrift für Klaus Stern zum 80. Geburtstag (2012)

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See detailThe Murmur of Being and the Chatter of Law (review article)
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in Social and Legal Studies (2011)

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See detailVertical Sovereignty, Horizontal Constitutionalism, Subterranean Capitalism: A Case of Competing Retroactivities
Van Der Walt, Johan Willem Gous UL

in South African Journal on Human Rights (2010), 26(1), 102-129

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