Cultural Studies and the 'Juridical Turn'
Culture, law, and legitimacy in the era of neoliberal capitalism
The relationship between culture and the law has become an emergent concern within contemporary Cultural Studies as a field, but the recent focus has been largely limited to the role played by cultural representations and identity politics in the legitimation of legal discourse and policies. While continuing this emphasis, this collection also looks at the law itself as a cultural production, tracing some of the specific contours of its function in the last three decades. It argues that, with the onset of neoliberal or late capitalism, the law has taken on a new specificity and power, leading to what we are calling the ‘juridical turn’, where the presumed legitimacy of the law makes other forms of hegemonic struggle secondary.
The collection not only charts the law and cultural policy as they exert their powerful—if often overlooked—influence on every aspect of society and culture, but it also seeks to define this important field of study and demonstrate the substantial role law plays in the production of our social and cultural worlds. In this trailblazing collection of contributions by leading and emerging figures in the field of cultural legal studies, chapters examine various ways in which this process is manifested, such as U.S. legislation and Supreme Court Decisions on gay marriage, immigration, consumer finance, welfare, copyright, and so-called victim’s rights, along with international comparisons from Europe and Latin America. It promises to be a pathbreaking analysis of our juridically-determined conjuncture. This book was originally published as a special issue of Cultural Studies.
Table of Contents
Foreword Toby Miller
Preface Jaafar Aksikas and Sean Johnson Andrews
Introduction – Neoliberalism, Law and Culture: A Cultural Studies Intervention after ‘The Juridical Turn’ Jaafar Aksikas and Sean Johnson Andrews
1. The Legal Trial and/in Documentary Film Kristen Fuhs
2. Symbolic Economies: Money, Neoliberal Law and National Politics in Argentina Pablo Castagno
3. Overlooking/Looking over Neoliberal Immigration: Amnesty Policy in the ‘Nation of Immigrants’ Leah Perry
4. Restoring Law and (Racial) Order to the Old Dominion: White Dreams and New Federalism in Anti-Immigrant Legislation Pia Møller
5. Mighty Crime Victims: Victims’ Rights and Neoliberalism in the American Conjuncture Raphael Ginsberg
6. ‘In Light of this Demonstration of Crisis in our Nation’: Paternity, Responsibility and Welfare Kathalene A. Razzano
7. Shoplifters of the World Unite! Law and Culture in Financialized Times Mike Beggs, Dick Bryan and Michael Rafferty
8. Towards an Affirmative Public Domain Christopher M. Toula and Gregory C. Lisby
9. Copyright Culture and Pirate Politics Martin Fredriksson
10. Rule of Law: Sharia Panic and the US Constitution in the House of Representatives Katherine Lemons and Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson
11. Culture and the Court: The Judiciary as an Arbiter of Cultural Disputes in the USA Marcus Schulzke and Amanda Cortney Caroll
Jaafar Aksikas is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Columbia College, Chicago, IL, USA. He is also President of the Cultural Studies Association. His books include Arab Modernities (2009) and The Sirah of Antar: An Interpretation of Arab and Islamic History (2002). He has taught, researched, and published widely in the fields of Cultural Studies, media and culture industry studies, critical legal and policy studies, American Studies, and Middle Eastern studies.
Sean Johnson Andrews is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and the Humanities at Columbia College, Chicago, IL, USA. He teaches courses on Cultural Studies methods and methodologies, media studies, cyberculture, and the digital humanities.