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Rethinking Law and Language
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Rethinking Law and Language

The Flagship ‘Speech’

9781788976619 Edward Elgar Publishing
Jan M. Broekman, Dean and Professor of Law Emeritus, Law Faculty, KU Leuven, Belgium and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Penn State Law, PSU, US
Publication Date: 2019 ISBN: 978 1 78897 661 9 Extent: 352 pp
The ‘law-language-law’ theme is deeply engraved in Occidental culture, more so than contemporary studies on the subject currently illustrate. This insightful book creates awareness of these cultural roots and shows how language and themes in law can be richer than studying a simple mutuality of motives. Rethinking Law and Language unveils today’s problems with the two faces of language: the analogue and the digital, on the basis of which our smart phones and Artificial Intelligence create modern life.

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Contents
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The ‘law-language-law’ theme is deeply engraved in Occidental culture, more so than contemporary studies on the subject currently illustrate. This insightful book creates awareness of these cultural roots and shows how language and themes in law can be richer than studying a simple mutuality of motives.

Focusing on the multilevel phenomenon of ‘speech’, Jan M. Broekman explores the history of this theme, from the West-European Middle Ages, through to today’s globalization. Existing philosophical concepts are studied for their views on ‘alter’, other and otherness in speech, alongside scientific approaches including ‘semiotics’, ‘structuralism’ and, in particular, ‘legal consciousness’. This state-of-the-art book unveils today’s problems with the two faces of language: the analog and the digital, on the basis of which our smart phones and Artificial Intelligence create modern life.

Innovative and explorative, Rethinking Law and Language will be of value to law scholars, social scientists and psychologists alike. The investigation of professional language and the impact of digital communication on social relations will also appeal to judges and other officials as well as politicians.
Critical Acclaim
‘Ties between law and language have always been of interest in socially problematic situations as well as in legal and speech events in everyday life. Rethinking them brings us to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and later developments in Central European jurisprudence, to Marxian considerations, structuralism and sign theories. Unique in this book is the author’s focus on problems with the two faces of language: the analog and the digital, on the basis of which our smart phones and Artificial Intelligence create modern life. How does law answer that challenge and is developing cyberlaw enough? Such questions remain unanswered as long as we do not focus on our personal responsibility for the event we call “speech” – the name of the flagship language – no matter whether we speak, Tweet or write on Facebook.’
– Frank Fleerackers, KU Leuven, Belgium

‘A central thesis of this book is its recognition of the double definition of the term “word”, which has also been neglected in studies of law and language relations. A “word” exists in analog and digital types of language, whereas conversions among those types seem to catastrophically diminish the appreciation and effects of a renewed appeal to personal responsibility inherent to speech. Any philosophy of the language-law relationship, the book suggests, should establish “digit studies”: a branch that studies the digital media structures and its effects on languages around the globe.’
– Anne Wagner, Lille University, France

‘I am struck by the way in which the book very convincingly weaves the idea of “legal consciousness” into the larger framework of legal semiotics, making the former inescapably an essential element of the latter. By all rights: that should serve as the headwater of a broad flow of discourse on the nature of law and language. Let’s hope that this endeavour finds a good number of intelligent readers who are moved to respond.’
– Philip T. Grier, Dickinson College, US
Contents
Contents: 1. Rethinking Speech 2. Hobbes’ Frontispiece 3. Von Savigny’s ‘People’ 4. Signs Signify 5. Structuralism And Law 6. Alter’s Presence 7. What Language, What Law? 8. Word, Seme, Digit 9. The Flagship’s Wreckage References Index



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