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The Myth of 'Legal' Consent in a Consumer Culture

FACETS OF CONSUMERISM IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY (Anand Pawar, ed., Twenty First Century Publications, 2015) (available in India, ISBN no. 978-93-85446-27-6)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-33

18 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2015 Last revised: 12 Sep 2015

Jennifer Ann Drobac

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: August 19, 2015

Abstract

This Essay challenges the legal default of unquestioned human capacity for consent. It posits that legal capacity for consent is not an “on/off” switch. It questions the notion that capacity – our rough filter for the ability to consent – flips on at some relatively arbitrary time that one might, as a matter of tradition, call “the age of consent,” and off again with early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. A more nuanced view of consumer capacities rests, in part, on the understanding neuroscience and psychosocial evidence provide. This perspective suggests that we should match our rules and jurisprudential approaches to the variable capacities that we all show in different contexts and stages of life. By highlighting that most negotiating parties, in a given moment or context, may possess rather less than legally presumed capacity to consent, this Essay emphasizes the need for legal reform.

Keywords: consent, capacity, consumers, neuroscience, psychosocial science, contracts, negotiations

Suggested Citation

Drobac, Jennifer Ann, The Myth of 'Legal' Consent in a Consumer Culture (August 19, 2015). FACETS OF CONSUMERISM IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY (Anand Pawar, ed., Twenty First Century Publications, 2015) (available in India, ISBN no. 978-93-85446-27-6); Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2647488

Jennifer Ann Drobac (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-278-4777 (Phone)
317-278-7563 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.indylaw.indiana.edu/people/profile.cfm?EmpNum=41

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