2016, Online First May 2016
Abstract: Since the financial crash of 2008, the strategy of occupation has been widely deployed as a means of expressing and mobilizing political dissent. Within legal studies, responses to this mode of protest have remained wedded to a statist perspective that fails to assess the normative commitments immanent to occupations themselves. Rather than examining the strategy of occupation through a legalistic lens, this article approaches a recent occupation through the theoretical apparatus of the ‘nomosphere’. This term – originally coined by David Delaney but substantially expanded here – allows for an assessment of the spatial, narrative and atmospheric orderings of the Umbrella Movement, a pro-democracy campaign that sustained a 79-day occupation in Hong Kong’s city centre in late 2014. This ‘nomospheric inquiry’ assesses the forms of ordering that animated the movement from within and seeks to foreground the lived and felt reality of the occupation rather than focus on its legalistic or constitutional significance alone.