Friday, July 31, 2009

Law, Text, Terror




Ian Ward
Law, Text, Terror
ISBN-10: 0521740215
ISBN-13: 9780521740210
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. New York, 2009
199 pp.

The relationship between law and terrorism has re-emerged recently as a pressing issue in contemporary jurisprudence. Terrorism appears to take law to its limit, whilst the demands of counter-terrorism hold the cause of justice in contempt. At this point the case for engaging alternative intellectual approaches and resources is compelling. Ian Ward argues that through a closer appreciation of the ethical and aesthetical dimensions of terror, as well as the historical, political and cultural, we can better comprehend modern expressions and experiences of terrorism. For this reason, alongside juristic responses to modern expressions of terrorism, Law, Text, Terror examines a variety of supplementary literary texts as well as alternative intellectual approaches; from the drama of Euripides and Shakespeare, to the rhetoric and poetry of Burke and Shelley, the literary feminisms of Lessing and Rame, and the narrative existentialism of Conrad, Coetzee, Dostoevsky and DeLillo.
Ian Ward places contemporary political and jurisprudential responses to terrorism within a broader literary, cultural and historical context.

Table of Contents
Introduction
1. Terror and the sense sublime
2. Angry Jove
3. Voices of the terrified
4. Where are the women?
5. Stark humanity
6. The stuff of nightmares
7. The devil's big day.

Ian Ward. University of Newcastle upon Tyne



Law, Text, Terror: Essays for Pierre Legendre
Peter Goodrich, Lior Barshack, Anton Schutz (eds.)
GlassHouse Press, London, 2006
190 pp.
ISBN-10: 1904385257
ISBN-13: 978-1904385257


Contemporary manifestations of terrorism, unlike earlier anarchist versions of terror, evince an intimate connection between a desire for absolute order in both secular and religious forms. The so called war of civilizations can in fact be claimed to be a civil war within monotheism, the defining characteristic of which is the propensity to legislate. The most prominent feature of this war is fervour for religious texts. Political responses to terrorism exemplify the limits of legislation. Law cannot provide the order that it promises, and yet we witness a desire for more law on both sides of the divide, East and West, liberal and fundamentalist. This obsessive fascination with law has an underside of terror. Text and terror have common linguistic roots in the legal term territory and competence over it. Terror belongs to the outside, to that which is beyond the limit, outside the text, extra territorial. Law, Text, Terror brings together a series of essays that for the first time address the mutual constitution of law and terror in terms of the forms of textual belonging. Specific contributions include the tracing of the terrifying possibilities of legalism within the seemingly religious context of Islamic politics. Other contributors address the use of images and other modern media to promulgate Western law, as well as looking at how the rituals and tribunals of law establish a sense of belonging and of cohesion in juridically framed community. At a time when the legitimacy of master texts and the legal framework of community are subject to challenge both nationally and internationally, East and West, Law, Text, Terror brings together a group of leading international scholars to provide a unique and stimulating account of the ritual functions and effects of law both in maintaining community and in underscoring the horror that accompanies the realization of the limits of law.
The essays collected here under the governing signs, Law, Text, Terror have their origins in a singular and topical desire. Their motive is most immediately that of acknowledging the massive and eccentric contribution of the philologist, psychoanalyst and Romanist jurist Pierre Legendre to the study of legal institutions and juridical practices. He has unceasingly asked the question 'why law?' and in endeavouring to answer that question, in the course of over twenty-five books published during the last forty years, he has traversed a unique and uniquely idiosyncratic body of disciplines and knowledges relevant to the symbolic forms and institutional functions of the Western legal order.
These essays reflect that singularity of drive as well as that diversity of scholarly interests by taking up, playing with, varying and developing the themes of text and terror, law and territory, that Legendre either introduced or made peculiarly his own.

Table of Contents
1.- Peter Goodrich, A theory of the nomogram, p. 13
2.- Cornelia Vismann, Beyond image, p. 35
3.- Lior Barshack, The body politic in dance, p. 47
4.- Clemens Pornschlegel, Under a criminal law : legality and terror in 'Le droit romain n'est plus', p. 61
5.- Anton Schutz, Structural terror : a Shakespearean investigation, p. 71
6.- Marinos Diamantides, Towards a western-Islamic conception of legalism, p. 95
7.- Stephanie Lysyk, Love of the censor : Legendre, censorship and the Basoche, p. 119
8.- Renata Salecl, Worries in a limitless world, p. 131
App.- Fragments, p. 147
Bibliographical references, p. 155-186

Peter Goodrich is Professor of Law at Cardozo School of Law, New York. Lior Barshack is Associate Professor at the Radzyner School of Law, The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel. Anton Schutz is Lecturer at Birkbeck School of Law, London.

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