Law's Spatial Turn: Geography, Justice and a Certain Fear of Space
University of Westminster, Westminster Law & Theory Centre
October 27, 2009
Law, Culture and the Humanities, Vol 5, 2010
This is a critical reading of the current literature on law and geography. The article argues that the literature is characterized by an undertheorization of the concept of space. Instead, the focus is either on the specific geography of law in the form of jurisdiction, or as a simple terminological innovation. Instead, the article suggests that law's spatial turn ought to consider space as a singular parameter to the hitherto legal preoccupation with time, history and waiting. This forces law into dealing with a new, peculiarly spatial kind of uncertainty in terms of simultaneity, disorientation, materiality and exclusionary corporeal emplacement. The main area in which this undertheorization forcefully manifests itself is that of spatial justice. Despite its critical potential, the concept has been reduced by the majority of the relevant literature into another version of social, distributive or regional justice. On the contrary, if the peculiar characteristics of space are to be taken into account, a concept of justice will have to be rethought on a much more fundamental level than that.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: Law and Geography, Law and Space, Spatial Justice
JEL Classification: K49Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 15, 2009
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