How to Make Space and Law Interplay Horizontally: From Legal Geography to Legal Chorology

35 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2017

See all articles by Mario Ricca

Mario Ricca

Roma Tre University - Department of Law

Date Written: March 2, 2017


This essay addresses the thorny issue of how legal words and spatial experiences interplay. The topic is treated trough the spectrum of the subsidiarity principle and its semantic-spatial implications. This perspective allows for an immediate focus on the cognitive continuities extant between categorical and spatial frames. When a subject (public or private) is considered to be subsidiary with respect to another, then he/she/it is entitled to a substitution, which as such implies a semantic and experiential shifting. This very possibility for shifting/displacement reveals cognitive continuities between word and space in the legal realm and experience. Moving from this view, the essay proposes a different approach to the relationships between legal words and space, assumed as a division of power by contemporary Legal Geography. The method used to define this perspective is precisely “Legal Chorology.” The essay will address its theoretical and practical implications in bridging and dynamically managing the diffraction between law and space. Legal reasoning is thus enhanced by using a semiotic perspective in the analysis of human spatial experience and cognition. The topics addressed range from a discussion of the intertwining of the human activity of categorization and the perception of space, to an assessment of the consequences that a chorological view can engender for classical legal issues such as inheritance law, urban law, contract law, public assistance on behalf of subjects with disabilities, and so on.

Keywords: Space, Law, Subsidiarity, Chorology, Legal Geography

Suggested Citation

Ricca, Mario, How to Make Space and Law Interplay Horizontally: From Legal Geography to Legal Chorology (March 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Mario Ricca (Contact Author)

Roma Tre University - Department of Law ( email )

Via Ostiense 163
Roma, RM 00154

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