Adriana Cavarero: Resistance and the Voice of Law, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Adriana Cavarero

Resistance and the Voice of Law, 1st Edition

By Elisabetta R. Bertolino


179 pages

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Critical legal scholars have made us aware that law is made up not only of rules but also of language. But who speaks the language of law? And can one lawfully speak in one’s voice? For the Italian philosopher Adriana Cavarero, to answer these questions we must not separate who is speaking from the very act of speaking; moreover, we must recuperate the material singularity and relationality of the mouth that speaks. Drawing on Cavarero’s work, this book focuses on the potentiality of the voice for resisting law’s sovereign structures. For Cavarero, it is the voice that expresses one’s living and unrepeatable singularity in a way that cannot be subsumed by the universalities and standards of law. The voice is essentially a material and singular passage of air and vibration that necessarily reveals one’s uniqueness in relationality. Speaking discloses this uniqueness, and so one’s vulnerability. It therefore leads to possibilities of resistance that, here, bring a fresh approach to longstanding legal theoretical concerns with singularity, ethics and justice.

Table of Contents




PART I The voice and its possibilities of resistance

1 Can one speak in one’s own voice? One's voice and the critique and resistance of the law: a review of the literature

1.1 Resistance in terms of justice as fairness

1.2 Resistance and the good standard of human function

1.3 Resistance through critical ruptures in Judith Butler

1.4 Resistance through the voice in Adriana Cavarero

1.5 The Arendtian root of awareness of oneself and Butler’s ethical approach

1.6 The voice’s engagement with and disengagement from law


Part II The voice beyond sexual difference

2 The ambivalence of wounds, consent and the integrity of the body

2.1 Law and the impossibility of consent

2.2 The case of Re MB (Caesarean Section)

2.3 Law and the idea of bodily integrity

2.4 The cut in relation to the subject

2.5 One’s corporeal voice

2.6 The ambivalence in the cut


3 Objectification and voice in sex work

3.1 Law, objectifi cation and women in the sex industry

3.2 Speculating on objectifi cation

3.3 The focus on the voice in relation to objectifi cation


Part III The ethical justice of the voice

4 Moving away from justice as resentment

4.1 Predictable Medea and resentment

4.2 The subject of resentment

4.3 Resisting the subject of resentment in feminism

4.4 Forgiveness: conditionality, unconditionality and circulation

Conclusion and progression in chapters

Concluding remarks



About the Author

Elisabetta R. Bertolino has completed a doctorate in law and legal theory at Birkbeck Law School in London, UK, where she has also taught seminars in jurisprudence and criminal law. Currently, she teaches legal subjects at the University of Palermo, Italy. She has been interested in the theme of the voice and the work of Adriana Cavarero for several years, and conducted an interview with the Italian philosopher which was published in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies in 2008.

About the Series

Nomikoi: Critical Legal Thinkers

Nomikoi: Critical Legal Thinkers presents analyses of key critical theorists who have written on law and contributed significantly to the development of the new interdisciplinary legal studies. Addressing those who have most influenced legal thought and thought about law, the aim of the series is to bring legal scholarship, the social sciences and the humanities into a closer dialogue.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Jurisprudence
LAW / Essays
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Post-Structuralism