The Westminster Law and the Senses Series
The new Law and the Senses book series, published by Westminster University Press simultaneously in print and digital open access, builds on the existing Law and the Senses series of the Lab, as well as the series of conferences organised over the years on the relation of law to the sensorial.
The series aims to reflect critically on how law deals with senses, how law senses, and how law makes sense. This involves thinking, discussing and questioning the sound of law, the tactile encounter with its forms, its bitter/sweet taste, its pungent smell, its perspectival gaze.
What is the relationship of law to the senses? In a sense, law, the anaesthetic par excellence, is constantly engaged in numbing the senses into commonsense; manipulating, channelling and controlling the sensible; inserting properties and forbidding contacts; dissimulating violence, regulating sounds and defining taste.
However, senses are not static. Rather, they are shifting and elusive qualities, constantly reshuffled by socio-cultural and technological changes, always dislocating Law’s normativity towards new potentialities. In this other sense, Law emerges from the senses, and whereas senses are a constant arena of legal machinations, they are also Law’s constant blind spot and inescapable excess.
Is there then a legal sensing, an illegal sensing, or even perhaps a sensing beyond the Law? How does Law sense? Can Law hear, taste, smell, touch, see? Can Law indulge in sensual pleasures, or is it confined to the anaesthetic arena of common sense? Can senses be a tool to use, know and study Law better? Would this make Law more ‘sensible’, or instead more suffocating?
Law and Senses gathers trans-disciplinary contributions which aim to critically investigate the sensing of law, the capacity for law to (make) sense, and the possibility for Law to sense differently.