On the Anthropological Function of the Law
272 pages / April 2017 / 9781786630605
246 pages / November 2007 / 9781844671052
A provocative investigation of how law shapes everyday life.
In this groundbreaking work, French legal scholar Alain Supiot examines the relationship between society and legal discourse, how each shapes and is in turn shaped by the other. Historical and cultural contingencies guide any hand authorized to write in the statute books, and the practice of law is compromised when legal practitioners fail to acknowledge this fundamental reality. It is a lack of understanding that can lead to conflict between states and cultures and which makes it easier for powerful parties to manipulate the law in their own interests. In Homo Juridicus, Supiot deconstructs the illusion of a world that has become “flat” and undifferentiated, regulated only by supposed “laws” of science and the economy, and peopled by contract-makers driven by the calculation of individual interests.
“France’s most incisive jurist, Alain Supiot, has renewed the idea that all significant belief-systems require a dogmatic foundation by focusing its beam sharply, to the discomfort of their devotees, on the two most cherished creeds of our time: the cults of the free markets and of human rights.”
“The book addresses some contemporary issues with great erudition, and, as such, can profitably be read by anyone interested in the legal direction of advanced capitalism.”
“If Supiot’s corrective is a shade utopian, his diagnosis that something is amiss with contemporary trends in law and jurisprudence is an apposite and welcome contribution to a dissenting tradition.”