Feeling Like a State: Desire, Denial, and the Recasting of Authority
Davina Cooper is Research Professor in Law and Political Theory at King's College London and the author of several books, most recentlyEveryday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, also published by Duke University Press.
A transformative progressive politics requires the state's reimagining. But how should the state be reimagined, and what can invigorate this process? In Feeling Like a State, Davina Cooper explores the unexpected contribution a legal drama of withdrawal might make to conceptualizing a more socially just, participative state. In recent years, as gay rights have expanded, some conservative Christians—from charities to guesthouse owners and county clerks—have denied people inclusion, goods, and services because of their sexuality. In turn, liberal public bodies have withdrawn contracts, subsidies, and career progression from withholding conservative Christians. Cooper takes up the discourses and practices expressed in this legal conflict to animate and support an account of the state as heterogeneous, plural, and erotic. Arguing for the urgent need to put new imaginative forms into practice, Cooper examines how dissident and experimental institutional thinking materialize as people assert a democratic readiness to recraft the state.