July 26, 2012

Property and Money In Law and Literature

Andreas Rahmatian, University of Glasgow School of Law, has published Literature as a Set of Norms: The Fictions or Legal Concepts of Property and Money as Examples. Here is the abstract.

The common approach to law and literature is either looking at the law and legal process as depicted by literature (such as Dickens’s Bleak House or Kafka’s Trial), or at the law itself as a form of literature. But it does not commonly seem to be noticed that not only law could be literature, but literature could also be law. Both share the underlying components, words, which may render ideas into reality by prompting certain human behaviour according to their directions. The underlying language is a score which prescribes a type of performance, either in one’s mind, or in reality, and in any case, a pattern of human behaviour. Language, either rendered in literature in the usual meaning (for example as a novel), or language, words and figures, in form of a technical usage, can create norms. Thus literature, broadly understood, can either describe norms or create norms. This can be studied by looking at legal concepts of property, especially intellectual property, and money. The legal concepts of property, intellectual property and money can be regarded as instances of fiction, like a film script or theatre play. Literary and legal concepts share the same origin of fictional writing, the difference being that the words of a writer may entail a certain human behaviour, whereas the words of the law must lead to a certain human behaviour which is compulsory. This critical evaluation of the common source of concepts and characters in literature as well as in law invites a critical reassessment of the immutability and authority of certain legal concepts and also calls for a respectful consideration of the writers and playwrights: literature can be an authoritative force, at least an indirect one.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

No comments: