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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

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Law's Relations: A Relational Theory of Self, Autonomy, and Law


ISBN13: 9780199332168
Published: October 2013
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback (Hardback in 2012)
Price: £27.49
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9780195147964



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Autonomy is one of the core concepts of legal and political thought, yet also one of the least understood. The prevailing theory of liberal individualism characterizes autonomy as independence, yet from a social perspective, this conception is glaringly inadequate.

In this brilliantly innovative work, Jennifer Nedelsky claims that we must rethink our notion of autonomy, rejecting the usual vocabulary of control, boundaries, and individual rights. If we understand that we are fundamentally in relation to others, she argues, we will recognize that we become autonomous with others--with parents, teachers, employers, and the state.

We should not therefore regard autonomy as merely a conceptual tool for assigning rights, but as a capacity that can be fostered or undermined throughout one's life through the relationships and the societal structures we inhabit. The political project thus should not only be to protect the individual from the state and keep the state out, but to use law to construct relations with the state that enhance autonomy.

Law's Relations includes many concrete legal applications of her theory of relational autonomy, offering new insights into the debates over due process, judicial review, violence against women, and private versus public law