Looking for Law in All the Wrong PlacesJustice Beyond and Between

Looking for Law in All the Wrong PlacesJustice Beyond and Between

Marianne Constable, Leti Volpp, and Bryan Wagner

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780823283712

Publisher: Fordham University Press


For many inside and outside the legal academy, the right place to look for law is in constitutions, statutes, and judicial opinions. This book looks for law in the "wrong places"-sites and spaces in which no formal law appears. These may be geographic regions beyond the reach of law, everyday practices ungoverned or ungovernable by law, or works of art that have escaped law's constraints. Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places brings together essays by leading scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, history, law, literature, political science, race and ethnic studies, religion, and rhetoric to look at law from the standpoint of the humanities. Beyond showing law to be determined by or determinative of distinct cultural phenomena, the contributors show how law is itself interwoven with language, text, image, and culture. Many essays look for law in the kinds of "wrong places" where there appears to be no law. They find in these places not only reflections and remains of law, but rules and practices that seem indistinguishable from law and raise challenging questions about the locations of law and law's meaning and function. Other essays do the opposite: rather than looking for law in places where law does not obviously appear, they look in statute books and courtrooms from perspectives that are presumed to have nothing to say about law. Looking at law sideways, upside down, or inside out defamiliarizes law. These essays show what legal understanding can be gained when law is denied its proper domain.