The Place of Law

University of Michigan Press
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It has long been standard practice in legal studies to identify the place of law within the social order. And yet, as The Place of Law suggests, the meaning of the concept of "the place of law" is not self-evident.
This book helps us see how the law defines territory and attempts to keep things in place; it shows how law can be, and is, used to create particular kinds of places -- differentiating, for example, individual property from public land. And it looks at place as a metaphor that organizes the way we see the world. This important new book urges us to ask about the usefulness of metaphors of place in the design of legal regulation.
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About the author

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence & Political Science, Amherst College. Thomas R. Kearns is William H. Hastie Professor of Philosophy & Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, & Social Thought, Amherst College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Michigan Press
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Published on
Apr 21, 2009
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9780472022083
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / General
Literary Criticism / General
Political Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The essays look at the consequences that legal practice has on the lives of its practitioners as well as on the individual legal subject and on the shape of shared identities. These essays challenge liberal and communitarian notions of what it means to live the law.
In the first of the essays, Pnina Lahav presents a study of the Chicago Seven Trial to paint a picture of the law's power to serve as a site for the definition of a collective group identity. In contrast, Sarah Gordon focuses on the experience of an individual legal subject, namely, the defendant in the Hester Vaughn trial, a notorious nineteenth-century case of infanticide. Frank Munger looks at how law constructs the identity of women and explores the strategies by which poor women resist the law's construction of their dependency. In the fourth essay, Vicki Schultz offers a moral vision of equality that straddles the liberal and communitarian positions with her articulation of the concept of a "life's work." Lastly, Annette Wieviorka examines the recent trial of Maurice Papon for complicity in crimes against humanity to reveal how the very identity of a nation--in this case, France--can be defined through juridical and legal acts.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College. Martha Umphrey is Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Law and madness? Madness, it seems, exists outside the law and, in principle, society struggles to keep these slippery terms separate. From this perspective, madness appears to be law's foil, the chaos that escapes law's control and simultaneously justifies its existence. Law's Madness explores the gray area between the realms of reason and madness.
The distinguished contributors to Law's Madness propose a fascinating interdisciplinary approach to the instability and mutual permeability of law and madness. Their essays examine a variety of discursive forms—from the literary to the historical to the psychoanalytic—in which law is driven more by narrative than by reason. Their studies delineate the ways in which the law takes its definition in part from that which it excludes, suppresses, or excises from itself, illuminating the drive to enforce barriers between non-reason and legality, while simultaneously shedding new light on the constitutive force of the irrational in legal doctrine.
Law's Madness suggests that the tense and paradoxical relationship between law and madness is precisely what erects and sustains law. This provocative collection asks what must be forgotten in order to uphold the rule of law.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. Martha Merrill Umphrey is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College.
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