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A Foucauldian Interpretation of Modern LawFrom Sovereignty to Normalisation and Beyond$
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Jacopo Martire

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411929

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411929.001.0001

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The Normalising Complex and the Challenges of Virtualisation

The Normalising Complex and the Challenges of Virtualisation

(p.104) 4 The Normalising Complex and the Challenges of Virtualisation
A Foucauldian Interpretation of Modern Law

Jacopo Martire

Edinburgh University Press

In the present chapter, the author, drawing from his genealogical account, argues that modern law and biopolitical strategies of normalization are not to be conflated but came to work in a symbiotic fashion. Modern law itself functions as a normalizing apparatus, insofar as practices of normalization are capable of creating a seemingly homogeneous social body upon which the discourse of law can legitimately inscribe the universalism of the modern legal subject. Modern law and discipline/governmentality thus form a normalizing complex. Building on Bauman and Deleuze’s theories, the author indicates that this picture is changing as we are moving towards an understanding of the individual as a “virtual” entity, which is at odds with the normalizing paradigm that informs modern law and is unhinging the normalizing complex. The discourse of modern law in contemporary societies, faced with virtual individuals which increasingly challenge categories of normalization, is therefore caught into a double crisis: a normative one (how can normalizing laws properly reflect the wills of a mass of differentiates virtual individuals?), and a functional one (how can normalizing laws effectively regulate a new protean social body?).

Keywords:   Normalising complex, Bauman, Deleuze, Virtual Subject, Liquid Society, Control

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