Research Network for Culture, Law and the Body


The recent ‘bodily turn’ in the humanities has made the body a central category of analysis. This has also impacted the study of law and legal history. Instead of merely viewing the law as a set of texts, it is increasingly recognized that the law is also about bodies: the law shapes, regulates and transforms bodies, the law is felt and sensed with bodies, the law needs bodies as evidence and objects to be able to operate. This has led to a renewed attention for topics such as forensic medicine, bodily integrity and human rights, the body as evidence and as a target of punishment, the role of emotions and the senses in justice, and the intersections between law, gender and sexuality.

The focus on the body highlights human vulnerability and materiality, but also provides an avenue for studying the relationship between the state and citizens, and the law’s power on the body, as well as the body’s agency in response to legal norms and practices. In this network, we bring together approaches to law and the body from different disciplines (including History, Law, Anthropology, Sociology, Gender Studies) in order to ask how they have mutually constituted one another.