Law, Obligation, Community  book cover
1st Edition

Law, Obligation, Community

ISBN 9780367862657
Published December 5, 2019 by Routledge
292 Pages

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Book Description

Against an ever-expanding and diversifying ‘rights talk’, this book re-opens the question of obligation from not only legal but also ethical, sociological and political perspectives. Its premise is that obligation has a primacy ahead of rights, because rights attach to practices and modes of being that are already saturated with obligations. Obligations thus lie at the core not just of law but of community. Yet the distinctive meanings, range and situations of obligation have tended to remain under-theorised in legal scholarship. In response, this book examines the sense in which we are multiply ‘bound beings’, to law and legal institutions, as much as we are to place, community, memory and the various social institutions that give shape to collective life. Sharing this set of concerns, each of the international group of scholars contributing to this volume traces the specificity of the binding force of obligations, their techniques and modes of expression, as well as their centrally important role in giving form to lawful relations. Together they provide an innovative and challenging contribution to legal scholarship: one that will also be of relevance to those working in politics, philosophy and social theory.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


Daniel Matthews and Scott Veitch

Part I The Priority of Obligations

1 Dogma, or the deep rootedness of Obligation

Emilios Christodoulidis

2 Why should I listen to my conscience? Equity and the question of ontological obligation

Matt Stone

3 The Origin of Obligations: Towards a Fundamental Phenomenology of Legal and Moral Obligation

Johan van der Walt

Part II Instituting Obligations

4 On the Company’s Bounded Sense of Social Obligation

Lilian Moncrieff

5 Duty Free

Scott Veitch

6 History, Alterity and Obligation: Toward a Genealogy of the Co-operative

Tara Mulqueen

7 Sovereignty, Affect and Being-Bound

Stacy Douglas and Daniel Matthews

Part III The Force of Obligations

8 Hybrid legalities: On Obligation and Law’s Immanent Materiology

Kyle McGee

9 The Biographical Core of Law: Privacy, Personhood and the Bounds of Obligation

Marcelo Thompson

Part IV Civility, Office, and the Bonds of Community

10 Civility, Obligation and Criminal Law

Lindsay Farmer

11 Obligations of Office

Shaun McVeigh

12 Academic Freedom Academic Obligation

Carrol Clarkson



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Daniel Matthews and Scott Veitch are both based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong.