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  • Cited by 13

Book description

Debates about emergency powers traditionally focus on whether law can or should constrain officials in emergencies. Emergencies in Public Law moves beyond this narrow lens, focusing instead on how law structures the response to emergencies and what kind of legal and political dynamics this relation gives rise to. Drawing on empirical studies from a variety of emergencies, institutional actors, and jurisdictional scales (terrorist threats, natural disasters, economic crises, and more), this book provides a framework for understanding emergencies as long-term processes rather than ad hoc events, and as opportunities for legal and institutional productivity rather than occasions for the suspension of law and the centralization of response powers. The analysis offered here will be of interest to academics and students of legal, political, and constitutional theory, as well as to public lawyers and social scientists.


‘Karin Loevy manages in this book to provide what I had thought impossible given the extensive literature on the topic of states of emergency - a wholly novel and most productive perspective. She argues that one needs to take a long view of how to understand emergencies, that is, not as events of short duration but rather as unfolding over lengthy periods, which in turn enables her to understand emergencies in terms of dynamic trends and processes rather than as discrete events. She thus sheds important new light on the relationship between the norm and the exception.’

David Dyzenhaus - University of Toronto, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

‘In this bold and powerfully argued book, Loevy shows how certain theoretical frameworks for understanding emergencies have led us astray. Digging beneath the prevailing imagery of sovereign deciders and sudden ruptures in the fabric of everyday governance, Emergencies in Public Law reveals a more complex and dynamic politics of competing institutions, layered temporalities, and political mobilizations. By combining conceptual work with well-selected and carefully researched case studies of emergencies, this book is a model of empirically engaged legal and political theory.’

Leonard Feldman - Hunter College, City University of New York

‘In Emergencies [in] Public Law, Loevy gives us an erudite and magisterial account of emergency powers, leading us through time and place from ancient Rome to Alexandria, DC to Guantánamo Bay, and from Belmarsh prison to the Israeli Supreme Court to disaster relief efforts in the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar. Along the way, Loevy offers us a fresh perspective on emergency powers that challenges the standard theoretical accounts, reframing emergencies and our legal responses to them as complex and dynamic processes requiring flexibility, reflexivity, and adaptability. Her provocative book will send us back to the drawing board with a new set of tools for containing emergencies.’

Victor V. Ramraj - University of Victoria, Canada

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