Politics of Exception: Criminalizing Activism in Western European Democracies

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksChapter


This chapter argues that the phenomenon—which encompasses legal discourses as well as political processes and practices,—is instrumental for maintaining and reorganizing state power by framing protest as a destabilizing Other rather than as an integral part of the existing political order. In political theory it is commonplace to comprehend a formal state of emergency as a legal–political instrument when facing a crisis, that is, as a provision which is accompanied by a shift of powers from the legislative to the executive branch and by the restriction of basic rights and freedoms. Post-colonial perspectives emphasize the parallels of such current politics of exception with colonial governing. The regulation of protest through politics of exception follows an expansionary logic: more and more parts of the social are connoted as “threats” reflecting (in-)securitization processes. In late modern societies threats are perceived as difficult to foresee and thus volatile and non-containable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCriminalization of Activism : Historical, Present and Future Perspectives
EditorsValeria Vegh Weis
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date23.12.2021
ISBN (Print)9780367700119, 978-0-367-70012-6
ISBN (Electronic)9781003144229
Publication statusPublished - 23.12.2021