Cassandra Sharpe and Marett Leiboff, eds. Cultural Legal Studies: Law’s Popular Cultures and the Metamorphosis of Law June 2015
What can popular cultures offer law, as a basis for critical practice? This introduction to the ‘cultural legal studies’ movement takes up this question as it presents a new encounter with the ‘cultural turn’ in law and legal theory. Moving beyond the ‘law ands’ (literature, humanities, culture, film) on which it is based, cultural legal studies aims to metamorphose law and the legalities that underpin its popular imaginary. To this end, the collection brings together leading scholars from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Presenting a long-overdue identification and framing of its scope, methodologies and practice, and drawing on three different modes of cultural legal studies – storytelling, technology and jurisprudence – the collection showcases the intersectional practices of cultural legal studies and law in its popular cultural mode. In this respect, contributors to the collection deploy differentiated modes of cultural legal studies practice, adopting diverse philosophical, disciplinary, methodological and theoretical approaches and subjects of examination. The collection draws on this mix of diversity and homogeneity to argue that we must take seriously an interrogation of law as culture – that is, not asking how a text ‘represents’ law, but how the representational nature of both law and culture intersect: in short, how the ‘juridical’ becomes visible in various cultural forms and their technological manifestations, and so how law’s popular cultures actively metamorphose law.
Daniel Hourigan, Law and Enjoyment: Power, Pleasure and Psychoanalysis June 2015
This book advocates, and develops, a critical account of the relationship between law and the largely neglected issue of ‘enjoyment’. Taking popular culture seriously – as a lived and meaningful basis for a wider understanding of law, beyond the strictures of legal institutions and professional practices – it takes up a range of case studies from film and literature in order to consider how law is iterated through enjoyment, and how enjoyment embodies law. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory, this book addresses issues such as the forced choice to enjoy the law, the biopolitics of tyranny, the enjoyment of law’s contingency, the trauma of the law’s symbolic codification of pleasure, and the futuristic vision of law’s transgression. In so doing, it forges an important case for acknowledging and analyzing the complex relationship between power and pleasure in law – one that will be of considerable interest to legal theorists, as well as those with interests in the intersection of psychoanalytic and cultural theory.
Olivia Barr, A Jurisprudence of Movement: Common Law, Walking, Unsettling Place August 2015
Set amongst a spatial turn in the humanities, and jurisprudence more specifically, this book calls for a greater attention to legal movement, in both its technical and material forms. Despite the various ways in which the spatial turn has been taken up in legal thought, questions of law, movement and its materialities are too often overlooked. This book addresses this oversight, and it does so through an attention to the materialities of legal movement. Arguing that movement is fundamental to the very terms of the common law’s existence, taking as an example the judicial practices of walking and burial, it addresses how law moves through patterns of technical and material practice Primarily set in the postcolonial context of Australia – though ranging beyond this nationalised topography, both spatially and temporally – this book responds directly to the challenge of how to live with a contemporary form of colonial legal inheritance. More generally, though, this jurisprudence of movement argues that we must take seriously the challenge of living with law, and to think more carefully, not only about its spatial productions, but also the place-making activities of common law.
Stewart Motha and Honni van Rijswijk, eds. Law, Memory, Violence: Uncovering the Counter-Archive September 2015
The demand for recognition, responsibility, and reparations is regularly invoked in the wake of colonialism, genocide, and mass violence: there can be no victims without recognition, no perpetrators without responsibility, and no justice without reparations. Or so it seems from law’s limited repertoire for assembling the archive after ‘the disaster’. Archival and memorial practices are central to contexts where transitional justice, addressing historical wrongs, or reparations are at stake. The archive serves as a repository or ‘storehouse’ of what needs to be gathered and recognised so that it can be left behind in order to inaugurate the future. The archive manifests law’s authority and its troubled conscience. It is an indispensable part of the liberal legal response to biopolitical violence. This collection challenges established approaches to transitional justice by opening up new dialogues about the problem of assembling law’s archive. The volume presents research drawn from multiple jurisdictions that address the following questions. What resists being archived? What spaces and practices of memory – conscious and unconscious – undo legal and sovereign alibis and confessions? And what narrative forms expose the limits of responsibility, recognition, and reparations? By treating the law as an ‘archive’, this book trace the failure of universalized categories such as ‘perpetrator’, ‘victim’, ‘responsible’, and ‘innocent’ posited by the liberal legal state. It thereby uncovers law’s counter-archive as a challenge to established forms of representing and responding to violence.