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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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The Phenomenology of Modern Legal Discourse

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William E. ConklinFaculty of Law, University of Windsor, Canada

ISBN13: 9781840140712
ISBN: 1840140712
Published: January 1998
Publisher: Routledge
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print

Making use of Kafka's ""The Trial"", this book explores the theory behind modern legal discourse. In order to investigate the subject the author explores a range of questions: how and why does the legal discourse of a modern state conceal the experienced meanings of a non-knower; if one has been harmed, does the legal discourse recognize the harm; does the harm sometimes slip through the juridical categorizations; if recognized, is the harm re-presented through a vocabulary, grammar and gestural style which are familiar to the expert knowers but not to the person harmed?;A second set of issues concerns the unconcealing of the addressive experineces of someone harmed. What happens to the dispersed everyday discourses which a litigant has experienced before they present their case to a lawyer, and are his or her dispersed embodied meanings concealed forever from the legal discourse of a modern state? These issues go to the production of human suffering inside the legal discourse of a modern state. The book explores such areas as the problematics of modern legal discourse, the juridical production of the concealment of suffering, the retreaval of the concealed meanings and the problematics of the study of the legal sign.

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Part 1 Introduction - the problematics of modern legal discourse: the problematics of modern legal discourse; argument - the juridicial production of the concealment of suffering; argument - the retrieval of the concealed meanings; the problematics of the legal sign; the problematics of studies of the semiotics of the legal sign; the phenomenology of legal language.
Part 2 The paradigms of legal consciousness and legal language: laws as legal consciousness; the problematic of legal consciousness; the problematic of a transparent language; legal recognition as concealment - a human rights case; exclusion by inclusion.
Part 3 The transformation of meaning into a modern legal genre: the genre-like character of legal discourse; the displacement of a primary genre; acculturation into a professional law school; the phenomenon of re-signification of a witness's utterance; the act of assimilation; the narrative as the displacing medium.
Part 4 The silence of suffering: the phenomenon of a differend; the search for an authoritative sign; the re-signification of Mr. Hirabayashi; the silence of Mr. Hirabayashi's world; the non-recognition of the other - the case of Davis Inlet; the sanitized pain during a depression; the disembodiment of a meant world.
Part 5 Does the knower face external constraints?: posited constraints; the absent foundation; the spirit of the laws; the facts as givens; the concealment of phusis in the external object; the non-knower as a represented object; the naivety in the belief of an external object - the belief in an emergency; the knower's embodiment of represented facts.
Part 6 The retrieval of the knower's environing world: the embodiment of a meant object - the case of Viscount Haldane; the concealed interpretive act; the interpreter's embodiment of meaning - a lesson from Brown v. Board of Education; the self-image of the interpreter - the case of Mr. Justice Holmes; the retrieval of the interpreter's ""environing world""; the environing world; embodied meanings as action; interpretation through an environing world.
Part 7 The idealism of legal discourse: is the foundation of legal discourse accessible?; is the non-knower an invisible author?; the idealism of the secondary play; the violence of the modern legal discourse; the idealization of the non-knower's story; meaning as social-cultural praxis; the non-knower's unfulfilled meant objects; the tragedy of unfulfilled meant objects; the situs of social critique; the collapse of the lawyer's play.
Part 8 Consciousness of the absent final object: the final object; consciousness of the particular other through the mind; the problematic of the paradigm of legal consciousness.
Part 9 The retrieval of the dialogic relation: the infusion of meaning; the opening; Oedipus Rex; the referral of the face-to-face relation; desire in a dialogic relation; a multiplicity of bodies. (part contents)