Studies in Law, Politics and Society: Volume 32

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(9 chapters)
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Under Anglo-American law, the consent of the masochist furnishes no defense to a charge of assault arising from sadomasochistic sexual practices. Our unwillingness to recognize consent in this context suggests disquiet with the ways in which S/M reflects the operations of law. Although the case law casts the masochist as a victim, other accounts represent masochism as a forceful enactment of submission. Masochism also challenges certain ideals of masculinity central to legal reason. Misgivings about the legitimacy of consent to S/M find a useful analogy in critiques of psychoanalytic treatment that understand consent in that context as irreducibly fraught.

Critical race theory is a contemporary legal movement composed of progressive scholars, primarily people who identify as people of color, who seek to challenge racism in American society. In their writing, they explore the many ways in which racism infuses American institutions, popular culture, commonsense beliefs, pervades interaction and cuts to the core of the American psyche. One of the central challenges that any person, scholar, activist faces in the U.S. is the peculiar nature of contemporary discourse on race. Often times, much of white America treats racism as if it were a thing of the past, an article of a time when the racial caste system was explicitly upheld and defended, either in the form of slavery, explicitly racist immigration laws (like the Chinese Exclusion Act), the Jim Crow laws, or when Native Americans were massacred by Union soldiers. Contemporary anti-racist work constantly confronts this denial of racism from a large segment of America.2 This denial of racism is one in which many people seem to have developed something of a psychic investment. Since the critical race theorists are working in a scholar-activist anti-racist vein, they also have to confront this massive self-delusion or mythic self-understanding.

The law-oriented short stories and novels of lawyer/English professor John William Corrington are receiving increasing attention from legal scholars. However, no one has analyzed the science fiction screenplays he co-wrote with his wife, Joyce, from a legal perspective. This article analyzes two such screenplays and concludes that they are “Socratic” texts whose narrative structures and epistemological processes work in much the same way that the traditional participatory exchange works in law school. My analysis explores the links between law, allegory and science fiction as intersecting methods to imagine the possibilities for the future.

A longstanding question of American constitutionalism emerges out of the fact that constitutions demand fidelity. By virtue of what is the American Constitution binding? Zevit contends that many of the explanations of constitutional fidelity offered today fail to reconcile Americans’ submission to a Constitution written and ratified by generations of long ago with their claim (or aspiration) to be self-governing as a People today. Zevit introduces one type of explanation (the aptness explanation) that does not contain this flaw, and, drawing on an expansive definition of culture as a notion that encompasses the legal-political, offers the concepts of legal-political culture and baseline community as a framework for assessing the Constitution’s aptness while maintaining the People’s self-rule. She argues that constitutional aptness secures the foundations of constitutional legitimacy.

This paper investigates why mothers are losing to fathers in contested child custody battles that have occurred between 1980 and 2003. It employs quantitative, qualitative, and contextual strategies to understand the complex set of forces involved. The findings suggest that single mothers and children are increasingly trapped in a war zone between cost conscious policymakers ideologically opposed to the welfare state, angry fathers shouldering the burden of a shift from public to private transfers of funding in the form of child support, religious zealots intent on turning back the clock to a mythical patriarchal Eden, and the legal doctrine of gender neutrality reflecting these political forces.

This paper provides a political analysis of legal pluralism from a “new institutionalist” perspective. In response to question of why states recognize and incorporate non-state normative orderings into their legal systems, it is hypothesized that the decision of incorporation is made to enhance the capacities of postcolonial states with “rational” calculations. In this respect, two new categories of legal pluralism are introduced: capacity-enhancing recognition and capacity-diminishing recognition. The paper lastly assesses the implications of legal pluralism upon the state-society relations and individual rights and liberties of citizens in the case of Israel.

Cover of Studies in Law, Politics and Society
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Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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