Law Text Culture


What is at stake here? I want to present ‘cultural techniques of law’ as a research and pedagogical programme - a ‘format’ - which has developed between the disciplines of law, media studies and cultural studies; or more precisely, at the interstices of these respective disciplinary boundaries (Vismann 2012a). I do so in the form of an essay and try to make some further suggestions for the programme. The essay is written from a position that is not fully identical with ‘law’. The term ‘format’ is meant to reflect the existence of such a programme, without claiming that it has been realised successfully. Such an incomplete identification of law with the method of its study is not a co-incidence. The starting point to think about law ought to be law’s difference rather than identity. It is in this sense that cultural techniques of law are the techniques of differentiation, modification and transmission that reproduce law. Culture does not refer to a historically stabilised identity, but only to what is made and reproduced. Cultural techniques of law are techniques that ‘operationalise’ legal differences: they divide, translate and transmit legal differences along (pre)formed, directed, exterior routes.