1st Edition

Posthuman Legal Subjectivity Reimagining the Human in the Anthropocene

By Jana Norman Copyright 2021
    196 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    196 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a reimagining of how Western law and legal theory structures the human–earth relationship.

    As a complement to contemporary efforts to establish rights of nature and non-human legal personhood, this book focuses on the other subject in the human–earth relationship: the human. Critical ecological feminism exposes the dualistic nature of the ideal human legal subject as a key driver in the dynamic of instrumentalism that characterises the human–earth relationship in Western culture. This book draws on conceptual fields associated with the new sciences, including new materialism, posthuman critical theory and Big History, to demonstrate that the naturalised hierarchy of humans over nature in the Western social imaginary is anything but natural. It then sets about constructing a counternarrative. The proposed ‘Cosmic Person’ as alternative, non-dualised human legal subject forges a pathway for transforming the Western cultural understanding of the human–earth relationship from mastery and control to ideal co-habitation. Finally, the book details a case study, highlighting the practical application of the proposed reconceptualisation of the human legal subject to contemporary environmental issues.

    This original and important analysis of the legal status of the human in the Anthropocene will be of great interest to those working in legal theory, jurisprudence, environmental law and the environmental humanities; as well as those with relevant interests in gender studies, cultural studies, feminist theory, critical theory and philosophy.

    1. Introduction 2. The Dualised Human-Earth Relationship of Western Culture 3. Law’s Role in the Human-Earth Relationship 4. The Legal Subject: Key Problem, Productive Point of Intervention 5. Introducing the Cosmic Person as Posthuman Legal Subject 6. Conclusion


    Jana Norman is a researcher in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Adelaide.

    Winner of the Socio-legal Studies Association's Socio-Legal Theory and History Prize, 2021