Rehumanizing Law: A Narrative Theory of Law and Democracy
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When we think of “law” in a popular sense, we think of “rules” or the institutions that make or enforce those rules (legislatures, the police, courts, etc.). But where do these rules come from and what makes them legal rules? Put differently, does a rule’s status as a legal rule mean that it is sealed off from the influence of other systems of human knowledge and inquiry (like the humanities)? There are many possible answers to these questions, but the one that I am concerned to examine in my work arises from narrative, which is one of the most fundamental modes of human expression. By keeping narratives at a distance or delay, law loses (and has indeed lost) some of its essential humanity. My project is, then, an attempt to explain the relationship between law and narrative, and—in the end—to suggest ways to rehumanize law by reconnecting it to its narrative roots and certain cognates in the humanities. To do this, I retell dozens of law-stories within a theoretical framework derived from literary, legal, and political theory.
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