Blurred Boundaries: A Double-Voiced Dialogue on Regulatory Regimes and Embodied Space
Law, Text, Culture, Vol. 9, 2005
13 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2005
In this paper, I take up de Certeau's invitation to attend to the spatial practices that "secretly structure the determining conditions of social life" (1984, 97). I do so conscious of Moran's reminder that "the corporeal is never far away from the spatial themes of law' (2003, 91), and Eisenstein's assertion that to become more specific "is actually to encompass more of humanity." (1994, 4). Practices of democracy (and practices of justice) presume and implicate very specific kinds of spaces and bodies. In attempting to re-imagine democracy, many feminist theorists have focused on the body of the pregnant woman, a body that has been the object of extensive analysis and regulation. I shift the lens of analysis to the woman's body after pregnancy, when birthing is done. Although a certain connection is severed when the umbilical chord is cut, where a woman breast feeds a child, a permeability of the bodily boundary between the mother and child remains. In this discussion of bodies and legal space, I begin with a body marked by interconnections, proximities, and instabilities of boundary. I focus on 'breasted experience' (Young 1998), where the breast in question is not the object of erotic desire, but that of 'alimentary obligation' (Kasirer 2005). I focus on this breasted body as a boundary site, using it as a location from which to explore the role of regulatory legal texts in constructing gendered legal space, and structuring the (exclusionary) determining conditions of social life (Smith 1987).
Keywords: legal geography, embodiment, discrimination, liquor licensing, gender neutrality, children
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