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Power and Legitimacy

Power and Legitimacy: Law, Culture, and Literature

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    Power and Legitimacy
    Book Description:

    Examining modern jurisprudence theory, statutory law, and the family within the modern Gothic novel, Anne Quéma shows how the forms and effects of political power transform as one shifts from discourse to discourse.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-1928-9
    Subjects: Law, Philosophy, Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-21)

    In the decade preceding the outbreak of the Second World War, a young man is accused of a crime on the basis of a single act of narration by a young female adolescent. In Ian McEwan’sAtonement(2001), Briony’s tale of Turner’s victimization of her sister Cecilia and of the rape of her cousin Lola can be read as an act of usurpation of reality through the imposition of a single narrative, which the child wields like an incontrovertible means of control over glimpsed events. If Briony succeeds in convincing her relatives and law’s representatives of the authority of her...

  5. Chapter One Symbolic Power and Legitimacy
    (pp. 22-42)

    Thirteen years ago, Sara Crangle published in theGlobe and Mail, a Canadian national newspaper, an article entitled “You Touch Mine, I’ll Touch Yours.” The subtitle to her journalistic piece indicates that in “the battle to outwit each other, prostitutes and undercover police officers are engaging in a sexual theatre of the absurd.” Here are the details of her report.

    HALIFAX – On a summer morning at 7:40 a.m., a 17-year-old girl is standing at the corner of Cunard and Maynard Streets in Halifax, waiting. A vehicle approaches, and she waves at the lone male driver. The car slows down...

  6. Chapter Two Social Poiesis and Symbolic Power
    (pp. 43-60)

    In the previous chapter, I considered the concept of legitimacy outside the conventional understanding of the concept with reference to a legal framework. On the basis of my comparative analysis of Butler’s and Bourdieu’s reflections on the symbolic and discursive constitution of the social world, I proposed to reconfigure legitimacy as a fundamentally ontological and political mode of relationship to the world. Here I pursue this analysis of legitimacy and the ways in which it rests on the deployment of symbolic power as a poietic process of making sense of the social world. The production of social meaning through material...

  7. Chapter Three Law’s Symbolic Power to Legitimize
    (pp. 61-82)

    The question of law’s ability to legitimize normative configurations of the social world abuts on the broader question of what constitutes law’s singularity. If, as maintained in the previous two chapters, the process of legitimizing and constituting the world ontologically characterizes the political and social organization of the polis, the naming of identities and social relations, and social governance through practices and structures, what distinguishes this process of social poiesis from law’s ability to legitimize and authorize social normativity? At the centre of the problem is the specific relationship between law’s prerogative to make binding decisions and the performativity of...

  8. Chapter Four Symbolic Violence and Illegitimacy: The Political Uncanny
    (pp. 83-100)

    Relying on symbolic power, social fields compete to legitimize their norms of being and doing things, and in their attempts for political ascendency, they produce effects of symbolic violence. Symbolic violence results from strategies of naturalization and dehistoricization that usurp symbolic means of constituting the world and exclude other possible ways of constituting this world. This usurpatory process produces effects of domination, which can be analysed as the spectralization and abjection of citizens who either do not cohere with normative carvings of the social world or who do not recognize themselves in them.

    For Bourdieu, symbolic violence occurs at the...

  9. Chapter Five The Symbolic Power and Violence of Legal Utterances
    (pp. 101-118)

    In the 2006Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar: Analysis and Recommendationsproduced by the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar, Commissioner Dennis O’Connor stated, “I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada.”¹ With this single statement, Commissioner O’Connor cleared Arar of terrorist affiliation. The authority of the statement derives solely from the first two clauses of the sentence, “I am able to say categorically that...

  10. Chapter Six The Legitimacy of the Family: Family Law and Gothic Fiction
    (pp. 119-135)

    In this and the next two chapters, I pursue the analysis of the agon for legitimacy through symbolic power by concentrating on the social poiesis of the family, in which English family statutory law and Gothic narratives engage. My approach to the concept of the family is not premised on a predefined cultural concept; instead, the family can be regarded as an example of the ways in which various social agents and symbolic fields generate social poiesis through symbolic power and practices. Thus, while certainly bearing imprints of historical, political, and cultural development, the meaning of the family is never...

  11. Chapter Seven The Political Uncanny of the Family: Patricia Duncker’s The Deadly Space Between and the Civil Partnership Act 2004
    (pp. 136-162)

    In this chapter, I concentrate on the symbolic violence generated by the historical transition from an exclusively matrimonial nomos of kinship in the Marriage Act 1949 to a same-sex union nomos of kinship in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA).¹ In the Marriage Act, the family nomos is carved out in terms of a heteronormative division between man and woman and, through the incest interdict, between the licit and the illicit, kin and non-kin. The cultural significance of the CPA lies in its act of interpretation and reading of same-sex partnership through the Marriage Act and its heteronormative regulation of...

  12. Chapter Eight Legitimizing the Subject of Domestic Violence: Lesley Glaister’s Honour Thy Father and Laws of the Household
    (pp. 163-196)

    Consider the following four narratives, which were published in the late 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. The first is from a collection of journalistic reports on domestic violence. We read of Karen Newman, whose sister lived for twenty-five years with a man who “conducted a mental reign of terror. The husband, Tommy Elden, demanded cups of tea, his dinner cooked a certain way, things to be done immediately. Then one night in 1997 he decided that he did not like his dinner and so he threw his wife out into the back garden. This time Margaret...

  13. Chapter Nine Resistance and Legitimacy
    (pp. 197-216)

    In my analysis of the symbolic violence characterizing English family law and Gothic narratives, I have considered the role and effects of psychic power through affective adherence to norms of sociopolitical and subjective formation. Central to the two Gothic narratives is a deconstitution of being and practices, which typically materialize through affective attachment to the family as normative matrix and legislated sociodicy. Whether we are dealing with the grieving of the absent mother in the first-person dirge ofHonour Thy Fatheror the intertextual labyrinth of filial identification inThe Deadly Space Between, we are faced with aberrations and grotesqueries...

  14. Chapter Ten Making the Law
    (pp. 217-232)

    In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented to the public an exhibition entitledDesign and the Elastic Mind, curated by Paola Antonelli.¹ The exhibition evolved in tandem with salons organized by Antonelli and Adam Bly fromSeedmagazine, gathering members from the scientific and design communities.² The philosophy underlying the exhibition drew in part on the concept of “thinkering,” which the exhibition website formulated in the following terms: “Many designers, scientists, and artists have turned to design to give method to their productive tinkering, or what John Seely Brown has called ‘thinkering.’ They all belong to...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 233-310)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 311-342)
  17. Index
    (pp. 343-359)