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Law and animalities

Haldar, Piyel (2009) Law and animalities. Law and Humanities 3 (1), pp. 71-85. ISSN 1752-1483.

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Scant attention has been paid by legal theorists to the relationship between law and animals. The paucity of literature on the subject reflects the assumption that animals lack moral status and are wholly outside the sphere of our normative understanding of the social order. Concerning itself primarily with the literature of medieval Christian bestiaries, this essay seeks to uncover a structural link between the didactic language of animals and the constitution of the interior domain of legal subjectivity. It will be argued that any understanding of the symbolic dimension of law, and thus any understanding of the link between law and the norms of subjectivity, needs to take seriously the specific function provided by this seemingly esoteric branch of literature. More specifically, it will be argued that the symbology of animals exposes the importance of theological concepts of salvation and redemption that remain tethered to current notions of legality and personhood.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): animals, subjectivity, bestiaries, symbolic order, salvation,
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Law
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2009 11:00
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:16

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