How law defines people, places, and things
A Jurisprudence of What's Real
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In Material Law, distinguished scholar John Brigham focuses on the places where law and material life intersect, and how law creates and alters our social reality. Brigham looks at an eclectic group of bodies and thingsfrom maps and territories and trends in courthouse architecture to a woman's womb and a judge's body to make connections between the material and the legal.
Theoretically sophisticated, and consistently fascinating, Material Law integrates law and society, political science, and popular culture in a truly interdisciplinary fashion. Brigham examines how the meaning of law is influenced by politics, reviewing, for example, whether the authority of global law supersedes that of national law in the context of Anglo-American cultural colonialism. What emerges is a well-reasoned look at how the authority of law constitutes what we see as real in our lives.
“Through essays dealing with the architecture of courthouses and courtrooms, the technology of fetal monitoring, the experience of attending international conferences, and more, John Brigham helps us understand in real-world terms how to resolve the apparent contradiction of saying that we understand ourselves in terms provided by the law that we ourselves make. Material Law is an important theoretical and empirical contribution to legal studies.”
“John Brigham is one of our era’s most imaginative and innovative sociolegal scholars. Both qualities are amply displayed in Material Law. Long after many have abandoned the constitutive theory of law, Brigham has refined and refreshed it, giving it new life and reminding his readers of the way law helps construct the taken-for-granted world. This book is a master work which will quickly become a classic of modern legal scholarship.”
"Brigham looks at the way the law actually constructs relationships and defines which objects are included, providing a unique perspective on traditional topics often studied by legal scholars.... Overall, Brigham selects ordinary legal subjects and examines them in highly novel ways. Summing Up: Recommended"
"Brigham admirably aims to situate his contribution within a larger critical tradition in law and within the law and society movement in particular.... Readers already well versed in the law and society literature will find in Material Law some provocative observations and piquant theoretical claims."
"[F]ascinating.... Material Law is a profound addition to constitutive scholarship. The alternative approach to socio-legal analysis in jurisprudence is a dynamic exciting framework to utilize when exploring the sociology of law. The concepts in the book serve as the perfect launching pad for students interested in socio-legal conceptual analysis in the materiality of law."
PART I: Theorizing Material Life
PART II: Constituting Legal Spaces
PART III: Materializing Law