Law’s Pluralities – Cultures:Narratives:Images:Genders /// Pluralitäten des Gesetzes – Kulturen:Narrative:Bilder:Genders
6-9 May 2015:
In May 2015 the conference “Law’s Pluralities” will take place at Justus Liebig University Giessen/Germany. In a series of keynote presentations by experts and in panel sessions and discussions, as well as in an exhibition it will explore cultural constructions of law. We invite academic contributions in the conference languages English and German.
The conference and exhibition is organized at Justus Liebig University Giessen by the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) in cooperation with the Department of English, the Rudolf-von-Jhering Institute, and in cooperation with the Neue Giessener Kunstverein. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, 6 May
Conference opening and Exhibition “Law’s Pluralities”
Greta Olson: “Mapping the Pluralist Character of Cultural Approaches to Law in Increasingly Pluralistic European Legal Cultures”
Franz Reimer: “Der kulturelle Zugang zum Recht aus der Perspektive der Rechtstheorie und Methodenlehre”
Exhibition opening at “Neuer Giessener Kunstverein”
Thursday, 7 May
Session 1: Law’s Pluralities
Rosemary J. Coombe: “Neoliberalism and the ‘Proprietary’ Imagination: A Proliferation of Cultures ‘Before the Law’”
Cultural goods are increasingly treated as resources under neoliberal practices of regulatory restructuring and the growing economic significance of informational capital in ‘knowledge economies’ supported by intellectual property and other newer legal regimes. Social collectivities face numerous pressures and incentives to represent and to recognize themselves as bearing unique cultures and stewarding valuable diversity. In international intellectual property deliberations, new regimes for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and through the ‘biocultural turn’ in environmental conservation politics, newly capacitated ‘communities’ assume a proprietary relationship to an ever greater range of culturalised practices as they simultaneously make themselves legible and legitimate in new fields of political economy. These new forms of neoliberal governmentality, however, also provide new resources for rights-based social struggle in which new legal cultures are imagined and projected through a revitalization of ‘customary law’ as a normative framework for cultural governance. I will draw upon ethnographic examples from Europe,
and Latin America, to suggest that the
relationship between the legal valuation of cultural goods and the
heterogeneity of legal cultures is a dialectical one fueled by narratives of
loss, belonging and responsibility.
Rosemary J. Coombe is the Tier One Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture, and teaches in the graduate programs in Sociolegal Studies and Anthropology at York University in Toronto.
Anna-Bettina Kaiser: “Verfassungsvergleichung als Verfassungsinterpretation?”
Die „Pluralitäten des Rechts“ heben zwei Gesichtspunkte hervor, die unterschieden werden können und doch miteinander verschränkt sind. So betont der pluralistische Ansatz sowohl eine Methodenvielfalt bei der Beschäftigung mit Recht als auch die Pluralität von (Rechts-)ordnungen, die miteinander in Berührung kommen. Der Vortrag sucht beide Sichtweisen miteinander zu verbinden, wenn er der Frage nachgeht, inwiefern Argumente, die im Wege der Verfassungsvergleichung gewonnen wurden, für die Verfassungsinterpretation fruchtbar gemacht werden können. Insbesondere soll der Frage nachgegangen werden, welche Methoden und welche Akteure für einen gelungenen Re-Entry des Fremden in das eigene (Verfassungs-)Recht in Betracht kommen.
Anna-Bettina Kaiser bekleidet die Professur für Öffentliches Recht und Grundlagen des Rechts an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Session 2: Law’s Narratives
Jeanne Gaakeer: “The Perplexity of Judges Becomes the Scholar’s
‘The perplexity of judges becomes the scholar’s opportunity’, wrote Benjamin Cardozo, promotor of the concept of the unity of form and content in law and literature. Cardozo’s observation prompts my contribution on law’s narratives, because of the interrelation between law in (academic) theory and law in practice, and given my own context as a judge and an academic working in the field of Law and Literature/Law and Humanities. Starting from the combined theses that (1) the way in which the facts of a case are narrated determines to a large part the outcome of that case – to narrate is already to explain, wrote Ricoeur – so that jurists need to develop and cherish narrative knowledge, and (2) that jurists should be imaginative about both the law and the people whose fates they determine when they use language to translate brute facts into the reality of the legal narrative, I aim to investigate and critically respond to the various views of literary theorists on narrative and narratology and show which elements can be fruitfully incorporated into a legal narratology. I do so on the view that jurists while being authors and readers of legal narratives all too often disregard what literary theory and the humanities more generally, have to offer to legal practice, and in order to highlight points of misunderstanding in our interdisciplinary literary-legal discussions, for there too scholarly opportunities remain to be seized for further clarification and theoretical elaboration of the bond of law and narrative.Jeanne Gaakeer is professor of Legal Theory, Erasmus School of Law, University of Rotterdam, and Justice in the Criminal Law Section of the Appellate Court in The Hague, and co-founder of the European Network for Law and Literature.
Andreas von Arnauld: “Norms and Narrative”
Taking my cue from Robert Cover’s seminal work on ‘Nomos and Narrative’, I want to develop on two dimensions in which norms and narratives inter-relate. The first dimension follows Cover’s famous dictum: ‘For every constitution there is an epic, for each decalogue a scripture.’ To what extent U.S. American Constitutional discourse is built on certain ‘grand narratives’, has been discussed by Robert Cover himself as by the likes of Paul W. Kahn. In
too, Constitutional law relies on ‘grand narratives’, both in judicial practice
and in scholarship. I will analyse how these narratives shape our understanding
of the Constitution and our society and which functions they serve. While this
first approach to ‘norms and narrative’ predominantly focuses on narratives
passing through the text of the Constitution, the focus in the second dimension
will be on narrative structures within legal norms. Comparing modern laws with
their aesthetic of abstraction to earlier models will show that even today’s
rather functional types of norms contain narrative patterns. In the process of
norm ‘application’, these crypto-narratives are revived while at the same time
the ‘facts of the case’ are abstracted in order to ‘fit’ the norm. Thus, the
narrative might prove the connecting structure between ‘norms’ and ‘facts’. Germany
Andreas von Arnauld bekleidet die Professur für Öffentliches Recht, insbesondere Völker- und Europarecht und ist Ko-Direktor Walther-Schücking-Institut für internationales Recht an der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel.
Plenary: Susanne Baer: “(Über) Recht sprechen. Aktuelle Herausforderungen für den Grundrechtsschutz“
Susanne Baer ist Richterin des Bundesverfassungsgerichts, bekleidet eine Professur für Öffentliches Recht und Geschlechterstudien an der Juristischen Fakultät und dem Zentrum für transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien an der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin und Mitträgerin des vom Berliner Forschungsverbund Recht im Kontext initiierten Projekts “Rechtskulturen: Konfrontationen jenseits des Vergleichs” am Forum Transregionale Studien.
Friday, 8 May
Session 3: Law’s Cultures
Ruth Herz: “Judicial Images as Narratives”
Regardless of their national background judges are educated and trained to ‘think like lawyers’. The process involves interpreting and applying the law and formulating the decision cogently, in a well-argued fashion. Such a method leads judges to ‘skeletonise’ real life stories. Jugdecraft is therefore to a great extent an exercise in stripping stories of their many personal aspects and paring them down so that they neatly fit into the judge’s way of applying the law in order to resolve the cases in court. The gatekeeping function of their way of thinking keeps judges in their safe space. Entering the judiciary entails more than the lawyer’s way of thinking. Being appointed a judge marks the belonging to the prestigious ‘corps’ bestowing him with dignity and honour and distinguishing him from other members of society. Consciously and unconsciously judges gradually adopt a certain aura and gravitas when in court. A judge acquires his habitus by incorporating past experiences, socially produced in his peer group, into the self which becomes a second nature. This of course is magnified by the theatricality in court and the court architecture, language, dress, rituals and behaviour. This ensures continuity and stability. Judicial habitus is the additional aspect guarding judges from succumbing to stray outside this pattern of thinking and being. Both characteristics overlook the personal and emotional dimensions of individual judges. Researchers have firmly established that history, social background and gender are attributes of the judicial process. It has, however, been the interests of both the society and judiciary to preserve the anonymity of the judges and deliberately avoid exposure of the personal and emotional levels. Judges tend to religiously guard the sanctuary of their privacy.
Ruth Herz is visiting Professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, former judge at the Court of Cologne, former “Vorsitzende Richterin Dr. Ruth Herz” in “Das Jugendgericht” (2001-2005), and author of The Judge’s Perspective (2012).
Session 4: Law’s Sexualities/Genders
Konstanze Plett: “Stories about Genus, Sex and Gender: Legal Exclusion through Linguistics“
Konstanze Plett is professor of Gender Law at the Bremen Institute for Gender, Labour and Social Law at the
. University of Bremen
Leslie J. Moran: “What’s Mr Kipling’s Bakewell tarts got to do with it? Performing Gender as a Judicial Virtue in the Theatre of Justice.”
My point of departure is a reference to a well-known English branded confection, ‘Mr Kipling’s Bakewell tarts’. During the course of the swearing in ceremony for Lady Justice Macur a box of these cakes was presented to the Lord Chief Justice. The gesture was accompanied by much laughter. It was an exceptional moment but not the only funny moment that generated laughter during that swearing in event. The Bakewell tarts provide a point of departure for an analysis of judicial swearing in speeches. During the legal year October 2012 to September2013 I attended nearly twenty judicial swearing in ceremonies at the Royal Courts of Justice inLeslie J. Moran is professor of Law at School of Law,
Seven of the swearing in events related to the appointment of women. These
ceremonies, performed in the ‘theatre of justice’ that is the court of the Lord
Chief Justice in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London , are for those appointed to the High
Court and Court of Appeal. They are ‘public’ events marking the inauguration of
the institutional life of the judicial elite. Each performance has common
characteristics. The event is dominated by the performance of two speeches.
What is the nature and purpose of the scripts used in these performances? What
does the ‘live’ context add to the meaning of the event? How are we to make
sense of the presence of laughter, something which is usually said to be out of
place in a courtroom, a threat to the legitimacy of judicial authority and
confidence in the judiciary? Mr Kipling’s Bakewell tarts and the swearing in
events more generally are used in this paper as an opportunity to examine the
gendered nature of the judiciary as an institution. What role did this
confectionary play the gendering of judicial virtues staged through the
swearing in ceremony? How are we to make sense of the gendering effects of the
laughter in response to the appearance of ‘Mr Kipling’s Bakewell tarts’? In answering
these questions the paper engages my previous work on the formation of
legitimate judicial authority through the analysis of written texts and visual
images. It also takes my work on judicial images in a new direction; into the
study of ‘live’ performances. This paper provides an opportunity to reflect on
what the study of ‘live performances’ adds to our understanding of judicial
image making? London
Saturday, 9 May
Session 5: Law’s Images
Peter Goodrich: “Lucifugous Laws: Excavations of Visiocracy”
This entirely light-hearted and irenic analysis of legal conusances will address the myriad modes of invention of law. The specific issue that is taxing me this morning is not the application of legality, the custard tarts and jammy donuts of judgment but rather the silent, brooding and affective perpetuity of juridical institutions. To coin a phrase, and to irritate, despite my best intentions, practitioners of the vernacular, maior lex imago est.Peter Goodrich is professor of Law, Director of program in Law and Humanities, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and managing editor of “Law and Literature”.
Werner Gephart: “Image-ing the Law: How ‘Deontic Power’ Enters the Canvas”?Werner Gephart ist Künstler, Direktor des Käte Hamburger Kollegs „Recht als Kultur“, und bekleidet die Professur für Rechtssoziologie an der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.