States of Emergency in Liberal Democracies

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9780511596704: States of Emergency in Liberal Democracies

In an emergency, statesmen concentrate power and suspend citizens' rights. These emergency powers are ubiquitous in the crisis government of liberal democracies, but their nature and justification is poorly understood. Based on a pluralist conception of political ethics and political power, this book shows how we can avoid the dangers and confusions inherent in the norm/exception approach that dominates both historical and contemporary debate. The book shows how liberal values need never - indeed must never - be suspended, even in times of urgency. Only then can accountability remain a live possibility. But at the same time, emergency powers can sometimes be justified with reference to extra-liberal norms that also operate in times of normalcy. By emphasizing the continuity between times of normalcy and emergency, the book illuminates the norms of crisis government, broadening our understanding of liberal democratic government and of political ethics in the process.

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Book Description:

In an emergency, statesmen concentrate power and suspend citizens' rights. This book shows that these emergency powers reflect a plurality of norms and of modes of power that are continuous between normalcy and emergency. Recognizing this shows how liberal-democratic values can remain in force, even in times of urgency.

About the Author:

Nomi Claire Lazar is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. Her work focuses on a number of manifestations of the relationship between institutions and human agency, spanning the history of political thought, contemporary theory, and public policy. Her writing has appeared in several edited volumes and journals, including Political Theory, Politics and Society, Constellations, and the University of Toronto Law Journal. She has served as Harper-Schmitt Collegiate Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago and Canadian Bicentennial Visiting Fellow at Yale. Dr Lazar holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (2005) from Yale University, an MA (1999) from the School of Public Policy, University College London, and an Hon BA (1998) in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked in the Criminal Law Policy section of the Department of Justice, Canada.

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