Rehumanizing Law: A Theory of Law and Democracy

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Drawing on principles from public law, tort, contract law and human rights, this text seeks to present a contemporary analysis of the law relating to the media and entertainment industries in terms of both practical application and theory. Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

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Habermas’ Philosophy of Law: Between Facts and Norms

By Tony Mann. By Jack Grove. Law students will undertake work experience at campus-based firm in each year of their degree. By Ellie Bothwell. Catering Manager University Of Surrey. See all jobs. At bottom, I suppose that I was hoping to stitch together some of my disparate interests, which range across literature and legal theory. Accordingly, I set out to offer a practical synthesis of legal and non-legal theories that had interested me for a long time and put meat to the bones of what can seem like literary or philosophical abstractions.

L.D.A. Corrias

That seems fine. To wit: Institutions have walls — sometimes literal, sometimes figurative — that keep things out.

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Norms are abstractions, distillations, and purifications that leave things out. Orders are systems, and systems seal things out.

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By keeping narratives at a distance or delay, law loses and has indeed lost some of its essential humanity. My project is, then, an attempt to explain the relationship between law and narrative, and — in the end — to suggest ways to rehumanize law by reconnecting it to its narrative roots and certain cognates in the humanities.

To do this, I retell dozens of law-stories within a theoretical framework derived from literary, legal, and political theory. Here are two examples. First, it is something of a commonplace that law has a narrative dimension. I do this with both legislation and common law. Second, using T. Just as a poet must balance past and present, so must a judge. In the context of judging, this means that one must attend to the past e.

Ultimately, I try to show that story telling — when considered as a method of arguing — can expand our understanding of how some laws come to be, other laws come to be changed, and how many laws come into democratic institutions in ways that strengthen and perpetuate those institutions. How did your interest in literature and drama join up with your interest in the law?

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For those with dramatic inclinations, then, law-as-performance is a more useful analogy than the more familiar law-as-literature comparison because the latter obscures important features of legal practice. Most important, I think, is the observation of people like J. Balkin and Sanford Levinson that legal practice is built on a triangular relationship among law-creating institutions, law-interpreting institutions, and persons affected by law interpretations.

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Performing arts share this structure in the form of author, performer, and audience. Merely reading a text collapses the roles of interpreter and audience and, thereby, diminishes the public aspect of a social practice. More generally, works of literature are cultural artifacts, and some of them gain secondary status as part of our general storehouse of shared knowledge. Lawyers and judges reach into this storehouse from time to time and pull out novels, poems, and plays, to which they then allude as part of their rhetorical strategies in particular cases. Second, if we extrapolate a bit from these citation-to-literature examples, we find that they are part of a wider law-and-literature intersection — namely, that between law and rhetoric.