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CES Lecture & Workshop: Turbulent Flow and the Emergence of Planetary Norms

CES Lecture & Workshop: Turbulent Flow and the Emergence of Planetary Norms

Event Venue:

Deakin Downtown 727 Collins StreetDocklands, VIC, 3008, Australia ( Map )

This two-day event is sponsored by ADI’s Culture, Environment and Science stream, which brings the conceptual tools, methods and approaches of the humanities and social sciences to bear on the challenging questions facing today’s interconnected world.

July 25: Lecture by Professor Margaret Davies – Turbulent Flow and the Emergence of Planetary Norms


Flow is normatively suggestive – a flow is neither the chaotic movement of particles in a state of equilibrium nor the parallel streams of untouching particles. Flow is directional sameness with built-in divergence and connection. In this paper, I consider the turbulent flow of matter and energy, the anterior of order, as the persistent but resisted movement from which norms and normality arise. The normative qualities of water and energy make their way, eventually, into human law: rivers feature prominently in current efforts to attribute legal status and/or rights to natural objects whilst (so far legal) human intervention in the flow of heat from Earth into space is causing what may become the greatest disruption of human life on Earth. Water and energy speak to the relationship between order and chaos implied by flow. At some level, water and energy are therefore emblematic of a normativity that emerges in the interplay of sameness and difference and, ultimately, necessity and chance.

Speaker Bio

Professor Margaret Davies is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Law at Flinders University. She has been a recipient of four Australian Research Council grants, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law. Her articles and mongraphs have established her at the forefront of legal theory, where she has innovated in the areas of property law, sociology of law, and now in the new area of eco-law. In her current research, Davies seeks to bridge our contemporary scientific understanding of natural normativity with the conception of normativity in human law. Davies’s most recent monograph is EcoLaw. Legality, Life, and the Normativity of Nature (Routledge, 2022). 

July 26: Joint workshop with Professor Margaret Davies and Professor Miguel Vatter – PhDs and ECRs are especially welcome to participate!


Dedicated to the relation between Rights of Nature and planetary health.

Davies and Vatter will lead a workshop on the current state of discussion around the Rights of Nature movement, the planetary turn in the social sciences, and its relation to the shift from global to planetary health. Special attention will be paid to the implications of these theoretical developments for law and legal theory. The workshop will also draw upon a selection of readings that address some of these issues from perspectives drawn from decoloniality, biopolitics, the social history of medicine, and new materialism. PhDs and ECRs are especially welcome to participate in the workshop. Catered lunch is available after the workshop.

Speaker bio

Miguel Vatter is a Professor in Political Science at Deakin University, Australia. He is author of Divine Democracy: Political Theology after Carl Schmitt and The Republic of the Living: Biopolitics and the Critique of Civil Society.

Reading List

Please find the reading list for the workshop here.


  • Please note individuals outside of Deakin University are welcome to register!

  • Both days will run from 10:00am-12:00pm at Deakin Downtown

  • Please register here.

  • If attending virtually, here is the Zoom link


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