Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New legal theory sheds light on the production of suffering

We knew that law legitimates suffering, be it only as a deserved punishment. But we learn now that law is also routinely used to organize irresponsiblility and sustain complicity with regard to large-scale production of suffering.

Scott Veich published recently Law and Irresponsibility - On the Legitimation of Human Suffering. The synopsis says:

"With a particular focus on large-scale harms – including extensive human rights violations, forms of colonialism, and environmental or nuclear devastation – this book analyzes the ways in which law legitimates human suffering by demonstrating how legal institutions operate as much to deflect responsibility for harms suffered as to acknowledge them. Drawing on a series of case studies, it shows not only how law facilitates the dispersal and disavowal of responsibility, but how it does so in consistent and patterned ways. Irresponsibility is organized, and its organization is traced here to the legal forms, and the social and political conditions, that sustain ‘our’ complicity in human suffering."


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