Deborah Charles Publications
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Scott Veitch, "Law and "Other" Problems", Law and Critique VIII/1 (1997), 97-109: While certain strands of postmodern thinking about law seek to reinstate ethical concerns at the core of jurisprudence, there is nevertheless a tendency too easily to replicate several of the assumptions of modernity it claims to move beyond. Concentrating in particular on the ethics of alterity, itself not a novel focus, it falls prey to several of the dichotomies and categories of liberal legalism. As such it is not surprising that it is often accused of a conservative inertia. To hold to the insights of difference postmodernists espouse, requires not simply attention to the form of law, but its relative positioning and role as a source of obligation, and to a rethinking of the law-ethics relation as part of an institutional critique of law.

Emilios Christodoulidis and Scott Veitch, "The Ignonimy of Unredeemed Politics: Revolutionary Speech as Differend", International Journal for the Semiotics of Law / Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique Vol. X no.29 (1997), 141-157. In this article the writers analyse revolutionary speech as a case of what Jean François Lyotard describes as a 'differend'. The focus is on confrontations between political activists and judges during political trials. The analysis attempts to locate and describe the logic of law's mis-recognition of the activists' claims and its own redemption from the silencing it thus imposes. By looking closely at law's mechanism of subsumption, its projection of a 'formula of identity' between addressors and addressees of norms, its 'autological' use of reference, etc, the authors attempt to explain why the revolutionary's text is forever subverted under the legal categories the law employs to interpret it, and identify this as a form of 'terror' exercised by the law. e-mail: elfp89@srv0.law.ed.ac.uk

Cornelia Vismann, "Cancels: On the Making of Law in Chanceries", Law and Critique VII/2 [1996], 131-151: Chanceries could be perceived as the other side of Law. Located underneath the threshold of the symbolic they occupy the imaginary sphere of the juridical. As such they produce the Law, law's visibility or evidence. In other words: cancels, textual bars as well as spatial grids, are the medium and the means of erecting the symbolic order of law. By cancelling the draft, a precept emerges and makes the Law stable. Thus the heterogenious and multiple field of the juridical is demarcated. A point for universal reference is gained. It is not difficult to recognise the Lacanian signifiant barré at work in the operation of cancels. The master-cancellor however is Meleville's Bartleby, the Scrivener. He cancels whatever he can grip until he reaches the bottom of all cancels. - "Asleep with kings and counselors" as the end of the story goes. In prolongation of Gilles Deleuze's reading of the story one could analyse Bartleby's legendary and ever unredeemed speech act ("I would prefer not to") as the formula for all cancels. By the reckless re-entry of the formula into the chancery itself, the chancellor/clerk begins to cancel himself. And it is only through this dysfunction that the function of chanceries for the making of law becomes clear. e-mail: vismann@euv-frankfurt-o.de

Julie Wallbank, "An Unlikely Match? Foucault and the Lone Mother", Law and Critique IX/1 (1998), 59-88: This article is concerned with evaluating the usefulness of Foucault's discourse theory in relation to the study of how lone mothers might make sense of and negotiate their lives within and through the network of power relations as disseminated through discourse. I argue that despite its strident critics, Foucauldian analysis is politically relevant and has utility for feminism in that it allows for small scale, in depth consideration of discourse, power relations and the subject. I consider some of the contemporary discourses surrounding one case in particular, that of Heidi Colwell, who had left her two year old daughter "home alone" whilst she went to work each day. I reveal the complexity and diversity of the relations between the lone mother and the discourses that constitute her. The latter part of the article examines the contemporary political significance of needs discourse and argues that the quantitative framework of needs interpretation is inadequate to address the needs of lone mothers. The article concludes by advocating for reform of social policy and family law so that the needs of lone mothers and their children are taken into consideration and responded to in a way that is more beneficial to women and their families. email: j.wallbank@la.ac.uk

Julie Wallbank, "'No Need for A Man About the House.' Social and Legal Responses to Women who Renounce Men", The Liverpool Law Review XX/2 (1998), 229-252: During the whole of the 1990's there was much fervent social and legal debate over what came to be perceived as women's increasing willingness to have and raise children alone. Many of these debates emanated from a political concern about the lone parents' reliance on social security benefit and how the then Conservative government could reduce public expenditure. Others stemmed from concerns brought about by the advances in reproductive technologies which created the potential for a new kind of "fatherless" family. See for example (D. Cooper and D. Herman, CJFL Vol 10 (1991) pp.41-78). Whilst both lone mothers and non-residential fathers were constructed in a negative manner in these debates, the lone mother headed household became the embodiment of the contemporary "social problem" of child support which involved financial, social and emotional components. An example is present in media debates of 1993 (The Daily Telegraph, July 3rd 1993). This article is concerned with the correlative implications of the concept of father "absence" for the mother who either elects to parent with another woman or who chooses or is forced to parent alone. I argue that lesbian mothers who obtain unlicensed donor inseminations are treated for child support purposes as if their lesbian partner did not exist. I therefore unearth the ways in which legal and social debates about motherhood and child support have evolved to include the dominant idea that mothers must ensure as far as possible that a child has a father to participate in her/his life. email: j.wallbank@la.ac.uk

Ian Ward, "A Kingdom for a Stage, Princes to Act: Shakespeare and the Art of Government", Law and Critique VIII/2 (1997), 189-213: This article attempts to reveal the insights which can be gained from an interdisciplinary study of law, literature and history. It takes a series of Shakespeare's plays and suggests the extent to which their study can illustrate, not just our understanding of constitutional thought in Shakespeare's time, but also the textuality of our present constitutional order. In particular, it suggests that the way in which Shakespeare addresses the art of government, and its description on the stage, reveals a more ready recognition that government is ultimately a matter of art and theatre. The first part of the essay addresses contemporary understandings of government as a form of art. The second part then introduces a number of Shakespeare's magistrates and monarchs. The third part suggests that extent to which the acceptance of government as art and theatre effects a rewriting of Shakespeare's constitution. Finally, the conclusion emphasises the degree to which a better appreciation of Shakespeare's constitution, as art, can inform us as to the aesthetic nature of our present constitutional order.

Bo Wennström, "The concept of violence", paper delivered at IASL Conference, Leiden, July 1996: The main question of this paper will simply be: Can we in an everyday situation doubt whether or not something is violence? Philosophers, politicians, lawyers, semioticians, deconstractionists can. They doubt on grounds that are philosophical, ideological, semiotical, post-modern or what so ever. But when we meet raw violence, is there really room for doubt? My interest in this question comes from readings of for example Ross, Olivecrona and Lundstedt. In their works, and works of people with similar thinking, you can trace a form a "Juvenile concept of violence". The concept is used not only to expose the foundations of the legal order but also in a way as if just mentioning the word "violence" is choking. Parallels can be drawn to how the concept is used today by post-modern writers. Again we can meet such supposed choking statements as "law is violence". Another way of using the concept of violence is the ideological way. Often "the ideological concept of violence" takes its starting point in an assumption that what we call violence is not "real violence". A distinction is made between "real violence" and things called "just violence", "reaction on repression" etc. A third way of using the concept of violence is the legal way. This legal way of using the concept of violence causes confusion if we do not draw attention to legal-technical functions of the legal concept of violence. A fourth, and for this conference most interesting way, is the philosophical way of using the concept of violence. To examine this I will start with asking what would have had happened if the subject of the dialogue Phaedrus had been violence instead of love. What I want to show is how the important questions that concepts such as "violence", "love", "life" etc. raise can be concealed if we misuse for example the philosophical concept of violence. (Dept. of Law, University of Uppsala)

Steven Wheatley, "The Non-Intervention Doctrine and Protection of Basic Needs of the Human Person in Contemporary International Law", Liverpool Law Review 15 [1993] 189-199: This article considers the international legal doctrine of non-intervention in the light of military interventions on the grounds of humanity. It discusses the legal obligation on States not to intervene in the internal affairs of another State in the absence of a violation, by that State, of some international legal obligations and the presumption that such an intervention must never amount to a use of force in violation of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. The work argues that States do have the right to intervene politically or economically in cases of serious and widespread human rights abuses and notes that the international community is reluctant to expressly condemn military interventions which may be termed genuinely humanitarian. The article concludes by suggesting that events in Iraq, Somalia and Liberia indicate a growing recognition of a right to military intervention in times of man-made humanitarian tragedy or widespread and serious human rights abuses. (e-mail: s.wheatley@uclan.ac.uk)

Steven Wheatley, "Freedom from Extinction: Conservation and Development in International Law", Liverpool Law Review 17 [1995] 215-221: This brief comment considers whether a State has any general (customary) legal obligation to protect and preserve species and habitats. The work notes the development of a human right to a decent environment and the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the content of such a right; in particular the fact that such a right would be inter-generational, involving the balancing of the needs of present generations with those of future ones. Whilst, in the main, the balancing of the respective claims would remain the prerogative of the State concerned, the work contends that to leave no specimens of a particular species could in no circumstances be considered equitable. Consequently, the obligations within the UN Convention on Biological Diversity [1992] for in situ conservation (unless inappropriate, where ex situ would be required) may be considered as having general application, obliging States not to knowingly permit the extinction of any species within its jurisdiction. (e-mail: s.wheatley@uclan.ac.uk)

Gordon E. Whitney, "The Legality of Human Rights, Viewed as a Higher Order Dynamic Interpretant", International Journal for the Semiotics of Law / Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique Vol. V (1992), 229-247: This paper shows how Peirce's dynamic interpretant captures the idea of living law. A collection of legal rules such as rights protected under the European Convention of Human Rights rests upon a common foundation which can be viewed as a higher order dynamic interpretant. The exposition follows the pragmatic tradition where legality is seen as doubly embedded: first as a product of history, then as organically connected with the existing social order. Internal analysis of the Convention and its subsequent Protocols, reveals a hierarchical rule structure with a variety of different classes of rules. The historical context is linked to the concept that "crimes against humanity" could be proved, as was found in the trials of the 21 Nazi leaders at Nuremberg (1945-46).

Melanie Williams, "Medico-Legal Stories of Female Insanity - Three Nullity Suits", Feminist Legal Studies VI/1 (1998), 3-31: This paper explores three Victorian actions claiming nullity of marriage. The three share a common theme in that all were cases of husbands pleading nullity on the ground of insanity in their respective wives, so vitiating the ability to consent. Yet the cases yield some evidence of alternative explanations of each woman's behaviour - the respective metanarratives of enforced modesty, autonomy denied, and prohibited love - which disrupt the dominant master-narrative of organic insanity embraced by the medical profession. The realisation that nervous or unbalanced mental states can be 'reactive' - a response to social or environmental conditions - rather than organic, was (as Elaine Showalter, in The Female Malady demonstrates) prompted by the overwhelming numbers of men returning from the Front during the First World War with 'shellshock'. Clearly, the social conditions of marriage in Victorian England were less susceptible to identification as the cause of a reactive condition, since they were embedded within the normative ideological structures of society. Nevertheless, the three cases provide evidence of the complex interaction between two such structures - medicine and law - in sustaining this normativity. e-mail: miw@aber.ac.uk

Louis Wolcher, "Being Mistaken", Law and Critique Vol.V no.2 (1994), 75-207: This article employs the method of hermeneutic phenomenology, as interpreted by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time, to display the phenomenon of mistake as it is lived. The goal is to put in question the claims of mainstream legal thought concerning the existentiality of its objects. The article does this by comparing the phenomenon of mistake as we in fact live it with the concept of mistake as it has been mythologized by Anglo-American legal doctrines governing relief from contractual obligations due to mistake. Much depends, in numerous fields of law, on the true knowledge/false knowledge dichotomy, and on the existentiality of that to which these concepts correspond. But critical phenomenology can be used to show that law's existential claims in this area are hollow. The article uses phenomenology not to enact a new "essence of mistake," but to destabilize the smugness which authorizes mainstream legal consciousness to maintain a singular view of reality, deny complexity, and encourage closure on its own terms. Author's mailing address: Professor Louis E. Wolcher, 1100 N.E. Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98105-6617, U.S.A. E-mail address: wolcher@u.washington.edu

Louis Wolcher, "The Man in a Room: Remarks on Derrida's Force of Law", Law and Critique Vol. VII no.1 (1996), 35-64: What can be said about the relations that subsist between legal violence and justice? The need to ask this question is nowhere more acutely felt than in contemplating the case of Nazi Germany's genocidal "final solution of the Jewish problem": the state-sanctioned murder, during the Second World War, of more than six million Jews in what has come to be known as the Holocaust. In his article Force of Law, the French philosopher Jacques Derrida-the founder and most famous practitioner of a form of criticism called "deconstruction"- addresses the relationships between law and justice, justice and the Holocaust, and justice and deconstruction. Derrida's article essentially equates deconstruction with justice (or its possibility). This equation emerges out of a reading of Walter Benjamin's 1921 essay, Critique of Violence, as that remarkable document is viewed from the perspective of the Holocaust. The present article interrogates and criticizes Derrida's text from a standpoint that problematizes both the impulse to speak, and the impulse to be silent, in the face of what is unjust. The standpoint of the present article is revealed by a comparison of the philosophies of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger, and realizes itself in a series of numbered remarks. These remarks find the equation of justice and deconstruction to be on the very same level as the Benjaminian critique of legal violence that Derrida seeks, unsuccessfully, to distance himself from. Author's mailing address: Professor Louis E. Wolcher, 1100 N.E. Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98105-6617, U.S.A. E-mail address: wolcher@u.washington.edu

Louis E. Wolcher, "A Meditation on Wittgenstein's Lecture on Ethics", Law and Critique IX/1 (1998), 3-35: My interpretation of Wittgenstein's Lecture on Ethics can be summarised in three propositions: (1) Wittgenstein's remarks say nothing "about" Ethics. Instead, they manifest Wittgenstein's radical predisposition to withhold his Ethical approval from texts which canonise or demonise particular, and therefore contingent, states of affairs. These states of affairs and ethical texts are describable as facts, whereas Wittgenstein wants it to be known that his sense of the word "Ethics" is unsayable. (2) Although it does not make any sort of claim about the meaning of the word "Ethics", the lecture nonetheless does offer itself as an ethical deed. This deed comes out in Wittgenstein's closing expression of personal respect for the human tendency to use ethical language to express ethical judgments, even though he classifies as nonsense all of what people say about the Ethical. I compare Wittgenstein's philosophy of Ethics with his philosophy of mathematics to clarify this aspect of my interpretation. 3) To respect some