The Legal Molecule – Law, Culture and the Humanities – article

The Legal Molecule

David Delaney | Law, Culture and the Humanities

2019-10-22

Situated at the intersection of the cultural study of pharmaceuticals and the cultural study of law and using Trantor’s (2011) critique of ‘the law and technology enterprise’ as a point of departure, this paper examines the pill as a techno-legal device. Just as pills contain an active pharmacological ingredient so too do they contain active legal ingredients. Where the molecular composition of pills are designed by chemists their legal-semic aspects are designed by lawyers. These are collaborative projects. Where the former are interested in the effects of molecules at bio-sites, the latter are concerned with the effects of legal signifiers in relation to each other as interpreted in a range of hermeneutic sites through cultural practices of reading and meta-reading. These meanings are built into the molecule itself thus resulting in the fabrication of legal molecules.

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