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Contribution to Book
Providing the missing link: law after Latour’s passage
Latour and the passage of law (2015)
  • Serge Gutwirth
There are two ways to speak of the law, which, both for jurists and laypersons, coexist like an optical illusion. Either you see the naked young woman, or you see Freud’s profile, and the passage from one view to the other is difficult to grasp or control. Similarly, law is evoked in two modes referring to two distinct significations. On the one hand law is referred to as an intertwined whole of statutes, rules and regulations, and thus, in one word, as norms (or “normativity”), while, on the other hand, it can as well be understood as decision-making or as a practice that produces solutions. Thus: norms or solutions, that’s the question. While it is not clear how we have been mixing up and shifting from the one register to the other, we surely have. In fact, - and maybe this is clearer in continental legal systems – we have long been confusing the "sources of law" with "law" as such. It is not Latour's least merit that his passage through law and legal studies has made it possible to spot and lift this confusion, and to start exploring and learning how to speak well of law. In this chapter, I want to show that this incessant switching between two ways to evoke or invoke the law is blurring our understanding of what the law does, what it produces, what it makes possible and how it is articulated to what is not law, to other practices or modes of existence. As a result, this chapter focuses upon the role of law much more than upon the rule of law
  • Latour,
  • law
Publication Date
Kyle McGee
Edinburgh University Press,
978 0 7486 9790 8
Citation Information
Serge Gutwirth. "Providing the missing link: law after Latour’s passage" Latour and the passage of law Vol. Edinburgh (2015) p. 122 - 159
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