Law as memory

Crowe, Jonathan and Lee, Constance Youngwon (2015) Law as memory. Law and Critique, 26 3: 251-266. doi:10.1007/s10978-015-9162-z

Author Crowe, Jonathan
Lee, Constance Youngwon
Title Law as memory
Journal name Law and Critique   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1572-8617
Publication date 2015-06-03
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10978-015-9162-z
Volume 26
Issue 3
Start page 251
End page 266
Total pages 16
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract This article explores the claim that law is characteristically in search of the past. We argue that the structure of memory defines our relationship with the past and this relationship, in turn, has important implications for the nature of law. The article begins by examining the structure of memory, drawing particularly on the work of Henri Bergson. It then draws out the implications of Bergson’s theory for the interplay of past and present, highlighting the challenges this poses for law’s project of retrieval. Law, as an artifact, seeks its origins in human action, but this often yields a static view of legal discourse as the retrieval of pivotal moments. Bergson, by contrast, shows us that past and present influence each other dynamically, giving rise to an integrated whole. The article concludes by exploring the potential for law to transcend the structure of memory. We argue that even beyond the limits of memory legal reasoning encounters a kind of residue left by the ethical foundations of law. Law searches vainly for the past, but what it finds is itself.
Keyword Emmanuel Levinas
Henri Bergson
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 3 June 2015.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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