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CfH Lectures

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This lecture discusses the implications of recent legal frameworks and debates on diversity (ie. gender, sexual, cultural) for a critique of the liberal assumptions that limit the scope of democratic politics. My contention is that we might be assisting a postmodern re-ontologization of the subject that is sustained by the liberal conception of the individual which upports restrictive modes of political representation. In turn, this liberal conception of politics leads to a liberal notion of diversity that reinforces the centrality of the heterosexual norm that continues to organize our social reality. To consider this issue, I will take as a point of departure the political struggle around the regulation of sex work that has been taking place in Buenos Aires for more than ten years. Through a brief consideration of the regulation of sexuality, I aim to show the limits of normative forms of subjectivation directly linked to the construction of an ideal citizen and the public sphere. In this way, this paper seeks to contribute to the debate on the new modes of regulation that reinforce and condition the ways in which we currently understand the subject of political representation.

This lecture was given within the framework of the 2010 School of Critical Theory organized by the Centre for the Humanities in Utrecht. The programme was titled ‘Cosmopolitanism, Peace and Conflict’, and offered trans-national and interdisciplinary approaches drawn from the humanities, social sciences, law, philosophy and international relations. Its focus on the development of crossnational European perspectives in these areas, allows for the innovative use of key notions of cosmopolitanism and diversity as bridge-makers across different national, cultural and disciplinary traditions. The school consisted of three clusters, which focused on Populism and anti-cosmopolitanism in Europe today, Frames of War, and Legal Theory and Cosmopolitics.