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A Theological Jurisprudence of Speculative CinemaSuperheroes, Science Fictions and Fantasies of Modern Law$
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Timothy Peters

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424004

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424004.001.0001

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The Force of/ as Modern Law: Justice, Order and the Secular Theology of Star Wars

The Force of/ as Modern Law: Justice, Order and the Secular Theology of Star Wars

(p.74) 2 The Force of/ as Modern Law: Justice, Order and the Secular Theology of Star Wars
A Theological Jurisprudence of Speculative Cinema

Timothy D. Peters

Edinburgh University Press

Drawing upon the work of the late Peter Fitzpatrick, this Chapter continues the consideration of Good and Evil by reading George Lucas’s and Disney’s Star Wars films as representative of the interconnections between law and myth. It focuses on two key legal themes: law and violence (law’s violent relation to a fundamental chaos); and law and order (highlighted in the connection between the rule of law and its exception). The Chapter analyses ‘the Force’ as a form of secular theology that, like the mythic nature of law, operates as a mediation between transcendent sovereignty and immanent legality. It situates this analysis in the context of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s critique of global capitalism and the call for a response by the democratic ‘multitude’. However, the Chapter’s reading of ‘the Force’ as representation of modern law demonstrates the risks of the immanence of modern legality in terms of its instrumentalisation as a tool for the production of order. Despite modern law no longer being inherently connected to an underlying notion of justice, it remains a secular legal theology because it requires a belief or faith in legality in light of its consistent failure to achieve order.

Keywords:   George Lucas, Star Wars, The Force, Secular Theology, Peter Fitzpatrick, Modern Law, Law and Myth, Exception, Law and Violence, Law and Order

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