The Sovereign Event in a Nation's Law
Author: Motha S.
Source: Law and Critique, Volume 13, Number 3, 2002 , pp. 311-338(28)
This article interrogates the relationship between the sovereign event and a legal decision that purports to place sovereignty beyond law. It argues that sovereignty cannot be regarded as unitary, and elaborates the process of iterability by which the sovereign event is split from the outset. This dynamic is examined through an interrogation of the non-justiciability of sovereignty in Mabo v. Queensland (No. 2)(1992). Along with the unitary conception of sovereignty, Mabo (No. 2) deployed an absolute measure for community in the form of the `skeletal principle' of the doctrine of tenure. The paper argues that a conception of the political that affirms the One sovereign source of community and law instead of the original dis-position of law, nation and community repeats the original violence, and will, at best, run aground on the righteous (mis)recognition of the `appropriate savage'. It concludes with an indicative rethinking of community through the thought of Jean-Luc Nancy.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2002-01-01