Structured Like A Monster: Understanding Human Difference Through A Legal Category
Author: Sharpe, Andrew
Source: Law and Critique, Volume 18, Number 2, July 2007 , pp. 207-228(22)
Abstract:This article will argue that the legal idea of the monster offers to inform contemporary thinking in relation to outsiders. Drawing on the work of Foucault it will be contended that the process, whereby at least some human beings are positioned as outsiders, is structured like a monster. That is to say, at least some constructions or representations of human difference, both legal and non-legal, are informed by the monster category. The article will think through and unpack Foucault's the idea of the monster, and his sufficient and necessary conditions of monster production. In the process, the article will identify two contemporary figures that bear the legacy of this legal category. These are the figures of Foucault's abnormal individual and the human/animal hybrid of genetic medicine, figures that can neither be reduced to products of law or disentangled from its domain. An emphasis on the importance of the template of the monster in understanding these contemporary figures points to its relevance to legal scholarship within fields such as gender, sexuality and race, and bioethics respectively.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2007-07-01