1st Edition

Obligations New Trajectories in Law

By Scott Veitch Copyright 2021
    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    Obligations: New Trajectories in Law provides a critical analysis of the role of obligations in contemporary legal and social practices.

    As rights have become the preeminent feature of modern political and legal discourse, the work of obligations has been overshadowed. Questioning and correcting this dominant image of our time, this book brings obligations back into view in a way that fits better with the realities of contemporary social life. Following a historical account of the changing place and priorities of obligations in modernity, the book analyses how obligations and practices of obedience are core to understanding how law sustains conditions of inequality. But it also explores the enduring role obligations play in furthering individual and collective well-being, highlighting their significance in practices that prioritize human and environmental needs, common goods, and solidarity. In doing so, it also offers an alternative and cogent assessment of the force, and the potential, of obligations in contemporary societies.

    This original jurisprudential contribution will appeal to an academic and student readership in law, politics, and the social sciences.

    1. The Priority of Obligations: Introductory Observations. 2. The Place of Obligations: Modern Antecedents. 3. Shifting Priorities: Into the Modern. 4. The Ecology of Obligations: Situating the Legal Bond. 5. Hybrids in Action: Three Contemporary Legal Formations. 6. Obligations, Needs, Solidarities: Old and New Trajectories.


    Scott Veitch is Paul KC Chung Professor in Jurisprudence at the University of Hong Kong.

    “This is an important book. It will allow the reader to rethink the dominant model of human rights and enable understandings of alternative complementary trajectories of obligations. An understanding of the universalism of obligations and the asymmetries and obediences that obligations create has the potential to better prioritise human and environmental needs, common goods, and solidarity.”

    Jane Richards, New Books Network (online)


    “[Veitch] wants us to return afresh to the notion of an obligation whether that be from a legal, political, or sociological perspective. He does this in under 120 pages, and he does it very well, lucidly and with learning.”

    Stephen Bogle, Jurisprudence: An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought


    “Scott Veitch’s book Obligations is a refreshing rejoinder to the hegemony of rights under liberal capitalism … The book is jam-packed with brilliant research and insights and, as such, it is a short but powerful read.”

    Stacy Douglas, Critical Legal Thinking (blog)


    “Veitch’s impressive capacity of condensation, its intellectual and historical breadth, and the clinical precision with which he dissects the subject-matter deserve high praise. His “new trajectory” is at once a retrieval of an overlooked genealogy, a critical diagnosis of the times, and the groundwork for its renewal.”

    Julen Etxabe, Critical Legal Thinking (blog)


    “Veitch’s work provides a thought-provoking “obligations critique” of the persistent patterns of modern legal normativity.”

    Jia Liu, Social & Legal Studies