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Sanctuary Discourse, Powers, and Legal Narratives

Studies in Law, Politics and Society

ISBN: 978-0-76231-272-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-387-7

Publication date: 27 March 2006


Through an analysis of texts and interviews with sanctuary providers from sanctuary incidents in Canada, this paper first details how sanctuary is made possible by pastoral and non-state sovereign powers. It then argues at least three stories of law are instantiated in sanctuary discourse. Law is at times arbitrary and unpredictable. In other instances, a ‘higher’ law authorizes sanctuary. Law is also a broader game in which lawyers are relied upon and sanctuary becomes a tactic to ‘win’. These legal narratives work together to constitute sanctuary and are instantiations of pastoral and sovereign powers at the level of the subject.


Lippert, R. (2006), "Sanctuary Discourse, Powers, and Legal Narratives", Sarat, A. (Ed.) Studies in Law, Politics and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 38), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 71-104.



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