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Legal Performance: Translating into Law and Subjectivity in Law

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Legal language seems to maintain a level of incomprehensibility that creates a barrier, beyond which something is happening: a dispute is resolved, a matter of guilt is ascertained, or a life is taken. This paper tackles a trial (in the sense of any type of legal proceeding before a judge) as a performance of justice; one that, not unlike a magical ritual or ritual theater, happens beyond a certain kind of barrier and is fully accessible only to those duly consecrated. It will be argued that legal language may be understood as such a barrier and the role and status of those who do not master it (i.e. understand law and its concepts) are comparable to those of an audience in a performance. Consequently, this paper will show how understanding the role of this barrier in a performance may help us explore the accessibility of law to the layperson and her subjectivity (in the psychoanalytical sense) within law.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor, Department of Legal Theory, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University, terezie.smejkalova@law.muni.cz

10.1163/22112596-02201004
/content/journals/10.1163/22112596-02201004
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/content/journals/10.1163/22112596-02201004
2017-10-05
2017-11-18

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