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Contents of Volume 5


Law as Theory: Constitutive Thought in the Formation of (Legal) Practice

-Peter Fitzpatrick

Typical but puzzling engagements with law in Jurisprudence and in civil religion are drawn upon to evoke a dimension of law essential to its practice, a dimension relegated in usual conceptions of law. That dimension entails a responsive regard for whatever is beyond law's determinate existence. The same responsive regard is found also to be the generative force of theory, whether legal or social theory. Law in its practical guise is thence found to have a constituent correspondence to theory. Legal practice can no more escape theory than theory can escape practice.

Reconceptualizing Law and Politics in the Transnational: Constitutional and Legal Pluralist Approaches

Despite the apparent fluidity that characterizes this historical moment as well as this moment in legal scholarship, this paper argues that there is also an enduring rigidity that is found in the persistence of a modernist conception of law. It is revealed in debates surrounding transnational constitutionalism, which even as they purport to transcend the nation-state, cannot escape some forms of reinscription of the relation between law and a centralized sovereign authority.

Representations of the Indian Emergency in Popular Fiction

-Sidharth Chauhan

In the domain of legal education, there is a compelling case for using popular novels as supplements to the perceptive 'dry' contents of standardized textbooks and legal materials. Their utility lies in their potential for meaningfully engaging the attention of students and to effectively highlight the wider social context behind notable legal developments. While the interface between literature and the law seems to have found a stable place in the curriculum of many law schools in Western countries, such pedagogic innovations have not become part of the mainstream curriculum in legal education in India. Even though elective courses dealing with 'Law and Literature' have been offered at some of the autonomous law universities established in recent years there is clearly a good case for introducing regular courses devoted to this approach as well as the use of fictional works as supplemental texts for the study of several substantive areas. The scheme of this paper is to examine the possible use of three fictional works - namely Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie, 1981), The Great Indian Novel (Shashi Tharoor, 1989) and A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry, 1995) as representative samples of such a methodology. Such efforts are likely to encounter a fair amount of resistance by those who would argue that such fictional works have no place in legal education and that the same should be confined to the study of statutes, judicial precedents and commentaries. The nascent move towards recognizing 'Law and Literature' as an autonomous discipline in India will perhaps gain more acceptance if a start is made with novels that engage with India's socio-political existence rather than those of Western nations.

Aging, Gender, Poverty: The Case of a Slum in Bangalore

-Sarayu Pani

This paper attempts to analyse the relationship between aging and gender relations in a slum in Koramangala, in Bangalore, which is deeply influenced by poverty, the phenomenon of globalization and the changed social relations that accompany these factors. The paper makes the argument that while aging is influenced by gender, usually negatively, certain other factors like health and modified social relations bring other influences to the experience of aging. Hence, while patriarchal structures in the slum remain oppressive, the role a particular woman may play in this structure can change with age, owing to factors such as poverty and her role in the family.

-Ruth Buchanan

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