Review Essay, Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha Merill Umphrey, Law and the Stranger, Stanford University Press, (2010)
Awol Kassim Allo
University of Glasgow - School of Law
May 22, 2012
New Criminal Law Review, Vol.15, No. 2
Law and the Stranger advances the challenging premise that law brings into being “the ‘we’ it governs”. The book identifies law’s multifaceted constitutive paradigms and reveals the strategies and tactics through which liberal societies regulate their relationship with the Stranger within their borders. In a somewhat Foucauldian gesture, Law and the Stranger seeks to expose law’s standards of knowledge production and truth generation. In its constitutive sense, law fixes our identity, constructs our memory and history, shapes our consciousness, totalizing almost all spheres of life contrary to liberalism’s first principles. As a dominant political ideology, liberalism is distinguished from other ideologies by its emphasis on limited government and individual freedoms and liberties. Whereas state intrusion in the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms is limited to the protection of the freedom of others, liberalism expands the possible terrain of intervention by assigning institutional codings to its formative principles. The book reveals not only law’s pervasive overreach, but also its openness to discursive practices that are extralegal without necessarily being illegal. In essence, Law and the Stranger is a critique of liberalism that questions law’s regulatory and disciplinary facets from within the liberal framework.
Keywords: Law, Strangers, Liberalism, Terrorism, State of Exception, Law suspension, Carl SchmittAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 23, 2012
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