Homo Juridicus

Homo Juridicus:On the Anthropological Function of the Law

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A provocative investigation of how law shapes everyday life.

In this groundbreaking work, French legal scholar Alain Supiot examines the relationship of society to legal discourse. He argues that the law is how justice is implemented in secular society, but it is not simply a technique to be manipulated at will: it is also an expression of the core beliefs of the West. We must recognize its universalizing, dogmatic nature and become receptive to other interpretations from non-Western cultures to help us avoid the clash of civilizations. 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 only the calculation of their individual interests.

Reviews

  • 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.

    Perry AndersonLondon Review of Books
  • Alain Supiot develops an original and ambitious approach of the place and role of the law for man with the curiosity and audacity of an anthropologist, but all the while avoiding thetrap of universalism... The use of an anthropological wide-focus lens furnishes him with a wealth of observations which ground a high-calibre reflection, rigorously documented with examples drawn from the legal domain.

    Études
  • After centuries of triumphalism on behalf of homo economicus, one had given up hope of hearing one day about homo juridicus. We can only congratulate Alain Supiot for this work which defends the anthropological function of the law, reminding us that the human being is a metaphysical animal which exists not only in thew universe of things (the economic) but also in a universe of signs.

    Revue trimestrielle de droit civil