Roberto Buonamano has research interests in the fields of legal and political philosophy, the theory of rights and human rights jurisprudence. He teaches in the areas of International Human Rights Law and Criminal Law.
He has published on legal theory through readings of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser and Franz Kafka. Current areas of interest include the state of exception and the rule of law, the contributions to legal and political theory within modern literature, and hermeneutical approaches to human rights jurisprudence.
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- The state of exception and its relationship to the rule of law.
- The Hermeneutics of ECtHR jurisprudence.
- Secularism and religious freedom.
- International Human Rights Law
- Criminal Law
Over the course of the last century human rights have served as the pre-eminent currency of neo-liberal discourses and correspondingly informed the construction of the individual as a legal and political subject. This has been the case notwithstanding that the fundamental paradox of individual rightsas universal and inalienable attributes of human being that depend integrally upon the political and legal frameworks of the nation state for their recognitionperpetually reveals the contingency and frailty of modern human rights, whether in terms of their conceptualisation, application or enforcement. The pervasiveness of this form of subjectivity, and its influence upon both national constitutions and the emergence of international legal institutions, suggests the need to investigate not merely the more conventional histories of human rightsas a product of post-Enlightenment liberal theory and the international legal order of sovereign statesbut also the pre-historical formation of the individual as an inherent bearer of rights. In order to chart a genealogical history of the relationship between rights and subjectivity, this study brings together an analysis of key doctrines and concepts, such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, democracy, natural rights and freedom, and an examination of certain historical narrativesthe theological-political model of sovereignty during the Middle Ages; the development of feudal rights as dominial and individual liberties; the role of the text and the concepts of public law and property in Medieval Roman and Canonical jurisprudence; and, the theological and humanistic philosophical discourses on natural law and personal liberty
Buonamano, RL 2017, 'The Hermeneutics of Deference in Strasbourg Jurisprudence: Normative Principles and Procedural Rationality', Journal européen des droits de l'homme - European Journal of Human Rights, vol. 2017, no. 4, pp. 311-337.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The protection of human rights through
the European Convention on Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms occurs
through a model of constitutional pluralism
characterised by the interplay of the principle
of subsidiarity and the function of supranational
judicial supervision. Whereas the
obligations imposed upon contracting States
by the Convention assume a certain level of
interaction between the European Court of
Human Rights and the national authorities,
the precise relationship between the two
has largely evolved through the interpretive
and adjudicative practices of the Court, as
well as the reactions of States to the Court's
judgments. The focus of this article is the
hermeneutical techniques employed by the
Court which contribute to the development
of normative principles in the application of
Convention rights. It highlights the limitations
with the Court's use of the doctrine of
the 'margin of appreciation,' and identifies
the increasingly significant normative role
of procedural rationality within its jurisprudence.
The problem of subjectivity - of how to conceptualise the subject - remains at the threshold of our understanding of human rights, both as a historical construct and a functional, juridical technology. Moving away from the idea of liberalism as the thought relating to political society based on the juridico-contractual relation of sovereign to subject, Foucault's account of the economic basis for liberal governmentality, developed in the series of lectures delivered during 1978 and 1979, provides scope to reconsider the problem of subjectivity in human rights. Our focus here should be on the possibility of situating the constitution of the subject of human rights within the historical processes associated with the development of the liberal and neo-liberal arts of government, and more specifically at the juncture at which the heterogenous forms of subjectivity associated with homo juridicus (the subject of rights) and homo economicus (the subject of interests) coexist. Further, a critique of human rights with this orientation might be used to address the fundamental political contradiction inherent in the divided subjectivity of the sovereign-subject, and of individual human life as the ultimate biopolitical foundation of the state.
Buonamano, RL 1998, 'The Law of the Origin in the Ontology of Consciousness (Descartes' Third Meditation)', Law.Text.Culture, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 175-190.
Buonamano, RL 1998, 'The Economy of Violence: Derrida on Law and Justice', Ratio Juris: An International Journal of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 168-179.