November 19, 2009

Translation, Comparative Law, and Localism

P. G. Monateri, University of Turin School of Law has published "'Cunning Passages': Traductology, Comparison and Ideology in the Law and Language Story." Here is the abstract.
My standpoint in this paper is that in affording the subject of Law and Language we face a mass of “local issues”, and “local puzzles”, but that we still lack a theory to grasp with the bulk of the matter. Al this becomes peculiarly embarrassing in the age of development of “English-only” movements, and facing the rise of a rather new and framed field of studies like “traductology” that would of course, but do not actually, interplay with comparaison especially in the field of Law. In my paper I just try to look around the package of some received ideas, in order to clean the blackboard before trying to build up something newer. Thus in the first section I cope with two prevailing theories: 1.) the theory of the language as a “social glue”, which is dominant and emerging from the present American political debate; 2.) the theory of the “analogy” between Law and Language as spontaneously ordered complex phenomena; then in a second section I try to trace back these ideas in the time of the “Birth of Comparativism” in the early 19th century. In so doing i deal with: 1.) the birth of Indo-European Family in Comparative Linguistics, and, 2.) the birth of Legal Comparativism within the context of the German Legal Historicism, in the same span of time. Finally I try to show how all these conceptions are nested details of a more general consciousness with broad political implications in terms of projects of governance. Then according to my views neither language studies nor traductology can be treated as pure subject deprived of a strong political commitment. Both are field where “choices for candor” are not at hand.

Download the paper at the link.

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