Title Feeling Like a State
Subtitle Desire, Denial, and the Recasting of Authority
Author Davina Cooper
ISBN 9781478004745
List price GBP 21.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 272
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Duke University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“This is a dream of a book. Feeling Like a State explores a daring possibility: Might legal dramas over Christian refusals (to bake cakes, provide contraception coverage with health care, issue marriage licenses, allow for gay Scout leaders, subscribe to secularist tolerance demands, and so on) offer progressives instructive lessons about withdrawal, attachment, desire, membership, commoning, care, and play? Drawing on law, sociology, and philosophy as well as political, feminist, affect, and queer theory,
Davina Cooper’s work is broad, brilliant, audacious, careful, and, importantly, prefigurative, marking the ways in which we already ‘inhabit, repurpose, resist the still and mobile parts of institutional life.’”

Bonnie Honig, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science,
Brown University


“With its checkered history of unmatched power, the state has been both a vehicle of oppression as well as justice. Feeling Like A State imagines transformative progressive ways the state can be, inspiring movement toward a more responsible, ecologically collaborative world. A beautifully written, brilliant contribution beyond utopian fictions that explores practical real-life experiments in governing as a way of rethinking government and states. This book must be read if we are to move past the current crises in any durable and just manner.”

Susan S. Silbey, coauthor of The Common Place of Law: Stories from Everyday Life


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.



Introduction: Reimagining the State

Chapter One: Legal Dramas of Refusal

Chapter Two: Retrieving Dissident State Parts

Chapter Three: Pluralizing a Concept

Chapter Four: State Play and Possessive Beliefs

Chapter Five: The Erotic Life of States

Chapter Six: Feeling Like a Different Kind of State




About the Author:

Davina Cooper is Research Professor in Law and Political Theory at King’s College London and the author of several books, most recently Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, also published by Duke University Press.

Target Audience:

People interested in law, sociology, and philosophy, political, feminist and queer theory.


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