The Spatial Turn in Legal Theory
Hagar: Studies in Culture, Polity and Identity, 2010
24 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2017
Date Written: 2010
The article explores the spatial turn which has taken place in legal theory since the mid-1990s. We argue that, although space was present in legal analysis prior to this turn, the consolidation of these various studies, as well as their understanding as belonging to a distinct branch of legal theory, has had three important consequences. First, spatial analysis allows a more sophisticated understanding of the interrelations between law and society. Second, the study of legal geography enables integration of what seem to be unrelated and distinct legal fields, with the underlying logic, purposes and values that they embody. Third, the spatial turn in legal theory is part of the spatial turn in the social sciences and humanities in that it fills the gap left by studies that do not take law into account, or which suffer from a crude understanding of law. Critical legal geographers have shown that law is not merely a passive medium through which states impose their spatial policies; it is a productive force with a life of its own, so to speak, which shapes material, social and mental subjective spaces.
Keywords: legal geography, space and the law, legal theory, jurisprudence, critical theory
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