Professor Anna Yeatman is visiting the PPP as part of the ongoing strategic partnership between the Platform and the Whitlam Institute. The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University is a dynamic public policy institute that commemorates, and is inspired by the life and work of one of Australia's most respected Prime Ministers. Prof. Yeatman directs one of the Institute's key policy programmes on the theme of public authority, an issue which intersects with the work of the PPP in a range of areas, including public governance reform and the ethics of public office holding.
Liberal thought, and more particularly neoliberal thought, view the state as an excrescence in relation to the bases of social order which they posit as already given within the spontaneous or self-regulating properties of market action. Even though it is arguable that the political stability of western liberal democratic societies has rested on the political ordering of social life that is the state or sovereign power, neoliberal thought does not scruple to jettison sovereign power understood as both a political and a public containment of social life. The focus of this paper is a restatement of the idea of sovereign power as it is offered to us in early modern political and juristic thought as this is retrieved by Blandine Kriegel. Kriegel offers an ideal-type of this body of thought that is guided by the value orientation of finding a form of power that is something other than domination. This form of power is public power. Kriegel’s ideal type is well-founded as is indicated by a brief discussion of how Bodin and his follower, Hobbes, conceive the idea of sovereign power. What is at stake is clear: we can have an ‘economic’ ordering of social life that is de-politicised, and essentially driven by a legal form of private power. Or we can have a political ordering of social life where the state is acknowledged as an artificially created institution that is intended to create a public order within which each individual can be both free and equal.
Anna Yeatman is a professorial research fellow in the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University. Prior to her appointment at UWS, she was a Canada Research Chair in Political Science at the University of Western Sydney. She has a background as both a political and social theorist and a practitioner (sometime public policy consultant, and Guild certified Feldenkrais practitioner). At the Whitlam Institute she is working in close collaboration with its director (Eric Sidoti) on a public policy program 'Human Rights and Public Life'. Recent publications include: (with Peg Birmingham, eds) The Aporia of Rights: explorations in citizenship in the era of human rights, forthcoming Bloomsbury 2014.
Read more about Anna here.
09.00 – 09.10 Welcome by Paul du Gay, Academic co-director, Public-Private Platform and Professor, CBS
09.10 – 09.45 The essence of publicness: sovereign power by Anna Yeatman, Professor, Whitlam Institute
09.45 – 10.00 Respond Justine Grønbæk Pors, Assistant Professor, CBS
10.00 - 10.15 Respond Paul du Gay, Professor, CBS
10.15 – 10.30 Open debate