William E. Scheuerman

Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Indiana University (USA)

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
August−December 2016

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Civil Disobedience in the Postnational Constellation«

Project outline:
Bringing together normative political theory and recent empirical research in political science and sociology, the project examines the challenges posed by the postnationalization and privatization of state authority to a range of familiar (anarchist, liberal, radical democratic, religious-moral, and republican) accounts of civil disobedience. The main thesis is that postnationalization and privatization undermine key elements of civil disobedience as traditionally conceived. Consequently, salvaging what remains normatively and politically attractive about civil disobedience potentially requires us to rethink some core components. Why does it matter? At least since Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, the theory and practice of civil disobedience has provided fertile soil for those hoping to bring about social change. Not surprisingly, a wide range of recent protest and social movements related to processes of postnationalization and privatization (e.g., the global justice movement, »Occupy«, European anti-austerity movements, as well as electronic or digital disobedients like Edward Snowden) describes some of their activities as »civil disobedience«, though some of them arguably challenge conventional preconceptions. Their experiences, I suggest, provide a starting point for thinking about how we might update standard views. They also help us identify what remains valuable in earlier normative and political accounts of civil disobedience. (William E. Scheuerman)

Research partner:
William Scheuerman follows an invitation of Rainer Forst (Professor of Political Theory at Goethe University). His stay at the Institute is supported by the Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Foundation, the Fulbright Program and the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation.

Scholarly profile of William E. Scheuerman

In 1993, William Scheuerman received his PhD from Harvard University with a dissertation entitled »Reason, Radicalism, and the Rule of Law: The Frankfurt School and the Crisis of Modern Law«.
In his career he was awarded with several prizes and fellowships. For instance: From 2002−2003 he was a Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for Human Values in Princeton and recently achieved a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany.
Scheuerman joined the Indiana University in 2006 and currently holds the position of Professor of Political Science and International Studies.

Please find more information about William Scheuerman here.

Main areas of research:
Modern political thought, twentieth-century European political thought, legal theory and the rule of law, democratic theory, international political and legal theory.

Selected publications:
  1. »Civil Disobedience in the Shadows of Postnationalization and Privatization«, in: Journal of International Political Theory, Vol. 12, No. 3 (October 2016).
  2. »Digital Disobedience and the Law«, in: New Political Science, vol. 38, no. 3 (Juni 2016).
  3. »Whistleblowing as Civil Disobedience: The Case of Edward Snowden«, in: Philosophy and Social Criticism, vol. 40, no. 7 (September 2014).
  4. The Realist Case for Global Reform, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2011.
  5. Hans J. Morgenthau. Realism and Beyond, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2009.
  6. (co-editor with Hartmut Rosa) High-Speed Society: Social Acceleration, Power and Modernity, University Park: Penn State Press, 2009.
  7. Frankfurt School Perspectives on Globalization, Democracy and the Law, New York & London: Routledge, 2008 (Paperback 2012).
  8. Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time, Baltimore & New York: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
  9. (co-editor with Peter Caldwell) From Liberal Democracy to Fascism: Legal and Political Thought in the Weimar Republic, Boston: Humanities Press, 2000.
  10. Carl Schmitt: The End of Law, Lanham, MD. & Oxford, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
  11. The Rule of Law Under Siege: Selected Essays of Franz L. Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer, Berkeley & London: University of California Press, 1996.
  12. Between the Norm and the Exception: The Frankfurt School and the Rule of Law, Cambridge & London: MIT Press, 1994 (Paperback1997).