The present reflection draws upon a tradition of energetic, world-facing critical legal scholarship to interrogate the anthropos assumed by the terminology of ‘anthropocentrism’ and of the ‘Anthropocene’. The article concludes that any ethically responsible future engagement with ‘anthropocentrism’ and/or with the ‘Anthropocene’ must explicitly engage with the oppressive hierarchical structure of the anthropos itself—and should directly address its apotheosis in the corporate juridical subject that dominates the entire globalised order of the Anthropocene age.
This reflection contrasts the dominant imaginary underlying ‘lawofthe Anthropocene’ with an imaginary reaching towards ‘law/sforthe Anthropocene’. It does so primarily by contrasting two imaginaries of human embodiment—law’s existing imaginary of quasi-disembodiment and an alternative imaginary of embodiment as co-woven with the lively incipiencies and tendencies of matter. It draws on ‘transcorporeality’ and ‘sympoiesis’ as inspiration for ‘sympoietic normativities’ as ways of co-living and co-organizing in the face of the catastrophic implications of the Anthropocene emergency.
This conversation between two scholars of international law focuses on the contemporary realities of feminist analysis of international law and on current and future spaces of resistance. It notes that feminism has moved from the margin towards the centre, but that this has also come at a cost. As the language of women’s rights and gender equality has travelled into the international policy worlds of crisis management and peace and security, feminist scholars need to become more careful in their analysis (...) and find new ways of resistance. While noting that we live in dangerous times, this is also a hopeful discussion. (shrink)
The much-lamented anthropocentrism of human rights is misleading. Human rights anthropocentrism is radically attenuated and reflects persistent patterns of intra- and interspecies injustice and binary subject–object relations inapt for twenty-first-century crises and posthuman complexities. This article explores the possibility of reimagining the “human” of human rights in the light of anti- and post-Cartesian analyses drawing—in particular—upon Merleau-Ponty and on new materialism. This article also seeks to reimagine human rights themselves as responsibilized, injustice-sensitive claim concepts emerging in the “midst of” lively (...) materialities and the uneven global dynamics of twenty-first-century predicaments. (shrink)
This article locates a theoretical reflection on the form of legal subjectivity against twenty-first century complexities and pressures, including the structural complexities visible in biotechnological developments, new hybridities and numerous contemporary theoretical and practical manifestations of heterogeneity, multiplicity and complexity emerging in a range of disciplines, including cybernetics, techno-theory, post-humanism and ecology. The author defends the theoretical and critical utility of understanding the legal subject as an explicit (and explicitly limited ) constructus . Criticising the constructed naturalism (and the historical (...) and contemporary exclusions) of the 'human being' of law, the author suggests that the language and concept of the 'legal entity' (rather than that of the 'legal person') draws attention to the patterned 'gap' between law and life (and to related injustices enacted by the form of the materialisation of legal subjectivity) while simultaneously providing the degree of theoretical plasticity now required by the mutable complexities of the twenty-first century and beyond. (shrink)
Martha Albertson Fineman's earlier work developed a theory of inevitable and derivative dependencies as a way of problematizing the core assumptions underlying the 'autonomous' subject of liberal law and politics in the context of US equality discourse. Her 'vulnerability thesis' represents the evolution of that earlier work and situates human vulnerability as a critical heuristic for exploring alternative legal and political foundations. This book draws together major British and American scholars who present different perspectives on the concept of vulnerability and (...) Fineman's 'vulnerability thesis'. The contributors include scholars who have thought about vulnerability in different ways and contexts prior to encountering Fineman's work, as well as those for whom Fineman's work provided an introduction to thinking through a vulnerability lens. This collection demonstrates the broad and intellectually exciting potential of vulnerability as a theoretical foundation for legal and political engagements with a range of urgent contemporary challenges. Exploring ways in which vulnerability might provide a new ethical foundation for law and politics, the book will be of interest to the general reader, as well as academics and students in fields such as jurisprudence, philosophy, legal theory, political theory, feminist theory, and ethics. (shrink)
How might law address the multiple crises of meaning intrinsic to global crises of climate, poverty, mass displacements, ecological breakdown, species extinctions and technological developments that increasingly complicate the very notion of 'life' itself? How can law embrace -- in other words --the 'posthuman' condition -- a condition in which non-human forces such as climate change and Covid-19 signal the impossibility of clinging to the existing imaginaries of Western legal systems and international law? This carefully curated book addresses these and (...) related questions, bringing 'law beyond the human' (drawing on Indigenous legalities, life ways and ontologies) and New Materialist and Posthuman/ist approaches into stimulating proximity to each other. Bold and astute, it draws an invigorating and lively mix of participants into its conversation: soils, urban animals, rivers, rights, Indigenous legalities, property as habitat, swarms, 'unusual posthuman capacities', decolonial critiques, eco-feedback, arts, affective encounters and more besides. Ultimately, this pivotal work shows how law currently fails to respond to the challenges and realities it faces, while demonstrating that law can also be a co-emergence of 'something else', more responsive, relational and prefigurative. Lively and engaging, Posthuman Legalities will prove an imperative read for students and scholars with a keen interest in breaking down barriers to address emerging challenges in environmental law, climate law, and human rights law, in conversation with new approaches to planetary justice. (shrink)
Two influential approaches to conceptualising the relationship between public and private law have suggested that the distinction between them should be abandoned. The first, as exemplified by Oliver, suggests that the distinction should be abandoned in favour of fusion based on the notion of commonality. The second, as exemplified by Teubner, rejects fusion, arguing for the replacement of the distinction with a concept capturing the multi-dimensional complexity of law in multiple social contexts: `polycontexturality'. This article focuses primarily on exploring conceptual (...) puzzles presented by Oliver's `commonality thesis', and argues for a reconceptualisation of the relationship between public and private law as multi-layered. Monolithic and rigidly binary concepts alike should be replaced by a complex set of relationships – a position broadly supportive of Teubner's. However, it is argued that the relationships between public and private law are to be seen as existing on a spectrum, or even on an overarching meta-spectrum, in which the existence of distinctive `archetypal conceptual paradigms' influence as `meta-spectrum extremities'. This presents a limited caveat to Teubner's thesis. I suggest that explicit theoretical attention to both the implications of polycontexturality and the existence of the archetypal conceptual paradigms as meta-spectrum extremities might avoid occluding important distinctions and nuances within a fusion that tends illegitimately to subsume private law within a public law paradigm. Such an analysis, I argue, could enhance the coherence of the law in complex, multi-dimensional cases at the troubled borderline between public and private law. (shrink)