The study of catastrophe is a growth industry. Today, cosmologists scan the heavens for asteroids of the kind that smashed into earth some ninety million years ago, leading to the swift extinction of the dinosaurs. Climatologists create elaborate models of the chaotic weather and vast flooding that will result from the continued buildup of greenhouse gases in the planet's atmosphere. Terrorist experts and homeland security consultants struggle to prepare for a wide range of possible biological, chemical, and radiological attacks: aerated small pox virus spread by a crop duster, botulism dumped into an urban reservoir, a dirty bomb detonated in a city center. Yet, strangely, law's role in the definition, identification, prevention, and amelioration of catastrophe has been largely neglected. The relationship between law and other limiting conditions—such as states of emergency—has been the subject of rich and growing literature. By contrast, little has been written about law and catastrophe. In devoting a volume to the subject, the essays' authors sketch the contours of a relatively fresh, yet crucial, terrain of inquiry. Law and Catastrophe begins the work of developing a jurisprudence of catastrophe.
Disasters and their management are today central to public and political agendas. Rather than being understood as exclusively acts of God and Nature, natural disasters are increasingly analysed as social vulnerability exposed by natural hazards. A disaster following an earthquake is no longer seen as caused exclusively by tremors, but by poor building standards, ineffective response systems, or miscommunications. This book argues that the shift in how a disaster is spoken of and managed affects fundamental notions of duty, responsibility and justice. The book considers the role of law in disasters and in particular the regulation of disaster response and the allocation of responsibility in the aftermath of disasters. It argues that traditionally law has approached emergencies, including natural disasters, from a dichotomy of normalcy and emergency. In the state of emergency, norms were replaced by exceptions; democracy by dictatorship; and rights by necessity. However, as the disaster becomes socialized the idea of a clear distinction between normalcy and emergency crumbles. Looking at international and domestic legislation from a range of jurisdictions the book shows how natural disasters are increasingly normalized and increasingly objects of legal regulation and interpretation. The book will be of great use and interest to scholars and researchers of legal theory, and natural hazards and disasters.
Law and the Utopian Imagination seeks to explore and resuscitate the notion of utopianism within current legal discourse. The idea of utopia has fascinated the imaginations of important thinkers for ages. And yet—who writes seriously on the idea of utopia today? The mid-century critique appears to have carried the day, and a belief in the very possibility of utopian achievements appears to have flagged in the face of a world marked by political instability, social upheaval, and dreary market realities. Instead of mapping out the contours of a familiar terrain, this book seeks to explore the possibilities of a productive engagement between the utopian and the legal imagination. The book asks: is it possible to re-imagine or revitalize the concept of utopia such that it can survive the terms of the mid-century liberal critique? Alternatively, is it possible to re-imagine the concept of utopia and the theory of liberal legality so as to dissolve the apparent antagonism between the two? In charting possible answers to these questions, the present volume hopes to revive interest in a vital topic of inquiry too long neglected by both social thinkers and legal scholars.
Law and War explores the cultural, historical, spatial, and theoretical dimensions of the relationship between law and war—a connection that has long vexed the jurisprudential imagination. Historically the term "war crime" struck some as redundant and others as oxymoronic: redundant because war itself is criminal; oxymoronic because war submits to no law. More recently, the remarkable trend toward the juridification of warfare has emerged, as law has sought to stretch its dominion over every aspect of the waging of armed struggle. No longer simply a tool for judging battlefield conduct, law now seeks to subdue warfare and to enlist it into the service of legal goals. Law has emerged as a force that stands over and above war, endowed with the power to authorize and restrain, to declare and limit, to justify and condemn. In examining this fraught, contested, and evolving relationship, Law and War investigates such questions as: What can efforts to subsume war under the logic of law teach us about the aspirations and limits of law? How have paradigms of law and war changed as a result of the contact with new forms of struggle? How has globalization and continuing practices of occupation reframed the relationship between law and war?