General Issue with Symposium ? In Dissent: Queering the Voice of Law
General Editor: Rob McQueen
Symposium Editors: Paula Baron and Bronwyn Statham
Queer, Antinormativity, Counter-Normativity And Abjection
by Aleardo Zanghellini
This paper argues that Queer has distinctive and worthwhile contributions to make to both conceptual and normative inquiries in jurisprudence, but that the potential Queer has for enriching jurisprudential inquiries has not always been tapped adequately. In particular, I argue that the way in which Queer often speaks and conceives of itself, and the way in which queer theory is done has unnecessarily limited the extent and quality of its contributions to normative jurisprudential inquiries. Queer analyses, including those of queer legal theory, have sometimes tended to slip from an enthusiasm for counter-normativity ? intended as a repudiation of dominant norms ? to the embracing of antinormativity ? intended as a renunciation of prescriptive projects. Yet, since normative commitments clearly animate the Queer project (and neither could, nor should, it be otherwise), it is a failure on Queer?s part not to acknowledge, articulate, reflect upon and interrogate its own normative commitments. The hitherto limited extent of queer contributions to normative jurisprudence is a direct result of this failure. Queer analyses of `abjection? are discussed to illustrate how queer theory can be mobilised to enrich normative inquiries in jurisprudence.
Closet Cases: `Conscientious Objection? to Lesbian and Gay Legal
by Carl F Stychin
This article interrogates recent developments in equality jurisprudence for lesbians and gay men in the United Kingdom. In particular, it examines arguments made by those who object to sexuality equality that they require an exemption from the law based upon their religious views. The author argues that `conscientious objectors? to equality make the argument that they are a persecuted minority in an increasingly secular society, and also that the views of the `silent majority? are being ignored. Objectors claim that a balancing of rights between sexual and religious groups is required. The author concludes that such arguments must be taken more seriously, but that claims of secularisation require critical interrogation. At the same time, developments in rights discourse also require careful analysis in order to reveal how the politics of rights manifests itself in this sphere.
Judging a Book by Its Cover: The Deployment (and) Unsettling of
Familial Images on Family Law Textbook Covers
by Sarah Beresford
An individual?s legal identity can be constituted by a multitude of often-complex notions, and is not necessarily of their own construction. Legal discourse has a significant role to play in the construction of an individual?s legal identity and can apply to gender identity as much as any other. This construction can occur not just through what is written or said, but also by and through the image(s) of law. The image presented to the viewer is prescriptive in both its nature and operation. This paper deliberately chooses a medium which is often omitted from analysis ? the front cover of an undergraduate textbook ? and offers a `reading? of some of the images that are selected to adorn certain family law textbooks. It argues that the cover can be read as visual rhetoric as powerful and as constitutive of legal identity as the written words within the book. If left unchallenged, law?s cultural prejudices are often shielded from critical examination, leaving the operation of `power? and `truth? within discourse to continue uncritiqued and unquestioned.
`Things Fall Apart, the Centre Cannot Hold?
by Sandra S Berns
This article argues that the modes of governmentality characteristic of post-industrial risk societies have the potential to fatally compromise rule of law values. While, post-9/11, the desire to prevent future terrorist attacks is one driver of such policies, populist demands for measures such as the indefinite detention of violent offenders or the introduction into Australia of forms of Megan?s Law are equally potent forces. Against this background, this article explores a variety of phenomena characteristic of risk societies, including the rise of gated communities and other forms of voluntary ghetto. When the management of anxieties becomes the core object of government, the author argues that the primacy of this objective both overrides rule of law values such the presumption of innocence and replaces key liberal values, such as tolerance and respect for the Other, with a greatly expanded panopticon in which we are all commanded to take our place among the watchers (and, simultaneously, the watched).
Sociobiology, Racism and Australian Colonisation
by Allan Ardill
Sociobiology is a relatively modern science but it is based on the very old premise that human beings are products of immutable laws of nature. For this reason it can be shown that sociobiology is an idea that envelopes a family of biblical and scientific theories that have been shown to be ideologies for the justification of hierarchy and oppression over the course of recorded human history. This family of sociobiological theories depicts `race?, and hierarchy based on race, as natural and inevitable. Here the argument is made that sociobiology is an ideology for the colonisation of Australia. Sociobiology is an ideology implicit in Australian legal doctrine and active in a continuing colonial process as a `justification? for the annexation of Australia in the late eighteenth century as well as the domination that took place after 1788 through dispossession, denial of sovereignty, and policies of assimilation and exploitation.
Punishing Welfare: Genealogies of Child Abuse
by David McCallum
Official statistics on child protection in Australia suggest that child abuse is at crisis levels, providing a context for the most recent legislative and regulatory changes in child protection in Victoria; these promote community-managed services, voluntary care agreements, informal legal processes and fast-tracking of child intervention. This article sets out the rudiments of a genealogical account of the category of child abuse, placing the present events in the context of historical shifts in how the problem of child abuse is conceived and acted upon. It draws attention to new forms of power in relation to the policing of children and families, and their corresponding modes of subjectification that seek to fabricate individual responsibility for the underlying social arrangements surrounding children and families.
Copyright, Governmentality and Problematisation: An Exploration
by Chris Dent
The Copyright Act covers a large range of subject-matters: it includes civil and criminal actions for infringement and appears to envisage a wide range of potential infringers ? from a child downloading music to international criminal cartels engaging in large-scale piracy of movies. The Act?s breadth suggests that an appropriate framework for its analysis is Foucault?s governmentality. Such an approach is not straightforward. The Copyright Act, for example, may be seen as a unifying set of practices; alternatively, it is arguable that copyright is not unified by a single `problematisation?. That Parliaments have enacted a number of legislative instruments under the broad category of copyright does not necessarily mean that all the practices associated with the instruments are directed at the same government rationalities. The copyright regime, for example, may be understood to maintain practices of self-expression, to accommodate changing technologies, and to sustain, in part, the economic order of society. In order to gain a more nuanced perspective of the problematisations of copyright, and therefore of the regulation of conduct creative individuals, a thorough genealogical investigation of copyright practices needs to be undertaken ? an investigation that may be based on the theoretical understandings presented in this article.
Griffith, Isaacs and Australian Judicial Biography: An Evolutionary
by Sarah Burnside
A historiographical analysis of judicial biography generates insights into changing understandings of the High Court?s political and symbolic roles and the place of judges in Australian society. This article analyses the ways in which scholars of successive eras have represented Justices Griffith and Isaacs of the High Court. Biographies will inevitably depict an era as well as exploring one discrete individual, and biographical writing on Griffith and Isaacs evokes the establishment and consolidation of the Australian nation-state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article focuses on the extent to which concepts of Australian nationhood and national identity have shaped representations of these two judges.
Governing Pets and Their Humans: Dogs and Companion
Animals in New South Wales, 1966?98
by Fiona Borthwick
Over approximately the last century, the major pieces of legislation that govern pets and their humans in New South Wales have been the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the Dog and Goat Act 1898, the Dog Act 1966 and the Companion Animal Act 1998. Using a governmentality-based methodology, this article reveals that the changes in the regulation of dogs from the Dog Act 1966 to the Companion Animal Act 1998 show a shift from controlling dogs to governing dog owners.
- Property: Meanings, Histories, Theories by Margaret Davies
Review by Allan Ardill