October 5, 2015

Representations of Harm In Law and Narrative

Honni Van Rijswijk, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law, is publishing Encountering Law's Harm Through Literary Critique: An Anti-Elegy of Land and Sovereignty in volume 27 of Law and Literature (2015) (Special Issue). Here is the abstract.
This article focuses on the significance of practices of representation to law’s role in adjudicating harm — both the role of representation in the adjudication of past harms, and in law’s present-day assertions of authority. I focus in particular on the ways in which questions of harm to the person, relation to land, and sovereignty have been separated in law, and the effects of these practices in constructing legal authority. I turn to Wright’s The Swan Book (2013) to provide a reading of the “undoing” of narratives of harm based on the person, and to thereby critique law’s representations of harm. I argue that, as an anti-elegy in the Modernist tradition, Wright’s novel provides a metaphor of harm and responsibility that reorganises time, destabilises law’s claims to authority over the adjudication of harms, and queries law’s claim to authority over other legal systems and sovereignties. This reading takes the framework of harm beyond the personal, to include the violent histories that have produced legal concepts including “land,” “sovereignty” and even “law” itself — histories and contexts that are separated and obscured in law.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

No comments: