Call for Papers – Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, 2018
From the Inside Out: Uncovering Administrative Legal Geographies
Legal geographies have laid bare law’s complex action within and against state power. These include delineating spaces of incarceration, protection, and refuge; differentiating public from private and citizen from migrant; and contesting social and ecological injustice from the courts to the streets. Indeed, law’s many contexts and effects embody multiple economic, social, historical, and ecological processes. Accordingly, legal geographies advance theories of performance, knowledge, and governmentality as well as state-making (Braverman et al. 2015, Dean 2009, Mitchell 1991).
Legal administration is no mundane bureaucratic matter, then, but a diverse field of socio-spatial practice across jurisdictions and places. By “administrative legal geographies” we mean the study of these practices and their social, spatial, and environmental implications. Examining them reveals contradictions and limits of global governance, as well as new articulations of (neo)liberal and authoritarian state order.
Yet analyzing administration faces considerable obstacles. Many administrative practices are hidden to non-specialists, securitized, or highly technical. Scholars have often misapprehended administration as purely “procedural,” rather than “substantive” in its own right, an analytically costly separation (Benson 2015). Many have argued that focusing on administrative practices ultimately detracts from environmental and social justice goals (eg Pulido et al. 2016). Recent research illustrates the import of administrative practice: from institutionalizing exclusionary politics of recognition in postcolonial society (Coulthard 2014), to the limits of rights regimes in protecting people from violence (Spade 2011), to forestalling appropriate responses to climate crisis (Herbert et al. 2013).
We welcome papers from across geography and other social sciences that extend these lines of inquiry to examine administrative legal geographies in substantive, theoretical, or methodological terms. Possible guiding questions include:
- How do particular administrative practices produce and/or depend upon spaces, and with what consequences and ties to wider social dynamics?
- How can we theorize administrative legal processes and practices in ways valid and useful not only to academic geographers, but to other social scientists and practitioners (including lawyers, non-governmental organizations, social movement actors, civil servants, and even the general public)?
- How might ethnographic, textual, participatory, or other methods help to illuminate practices of administration, their consequences, and their analysis? What ethical and logistical issues attend such projects?
If interested, please send the session organizers your name, institutional affiliation, and a paper abstract of up to 250 words by Monday, October 2. We will reply to proposals by Tuesday, October 10.
Brandon Derman, (email@example.com), Department of Environmental Studies, University of Illinois at Springfield
Tiffany Grobelski (firstname.lastname@example.org), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, United States Department of Homeland Security
Jesse McClelland (email@example.com), Department of Geography, University of Washington
Benson, M.H. (2015). “Rules of Engagement: The spatiality of judicial review,” in Braverman, I., Blomley, N., Delaney, D., & Kedar, A. The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography. Stanford University Press.
Braverman, I., Blomley, N., Delaney, D., & Kedar, A. (2015). The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography. Stanford University Press.
Coulthard, G. (2014) Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Dean, M. (2009). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. Sage Publications Ltd.
Goodale, M., and S. E Merry. (2007). The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law between the Global and the Local. Cambridge Univ Press.
Herbert, S., Derman, B., & Grobelski, T. (2013). “The Regulation of Environmental Space,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 9: 227-247.
Mitchell, T. (1991). The limits of the state: beyond statist approaches and their critics. The American Political Science Review, 85(1), 77–96.
Pulido, L., Kohl, E., & Cotton, N. (2016) “State Regulation and Environmental Justice: The Need for Strategy Reassessment,” Capitalism Nature Socialism 27(2): 12-31.
Spade, D. (2011). Normal Life: Administrative violence, critical trans politics, and the limits of law. Brooklyn, NY: South End Press.