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Knowing the Suffering of Others, Knowing the Suffering of Others, 0817357688, 0-8173-5768-8, 978-0-8173-5768-9, 9780817357689, , , Knowing the Suffering of Others, 0817387412, 0-8173-8741-2, 978-0-8173-8741-9, 9780817387419,

Knowing the Suffering of Others
Legal Perspectives on Pain and Its Meanings
Edited by Austin Sarat

Quality Paper
2014. 264 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2014. 264 pp.
Price:  $29.95 d

In Knowing the Suffering of Others, legal scholar Austin Sarat brings together essays that address suffering as it relates to the law, highlighting the ways law imagines suffering and how pain and suffering become jurisprudential facts.

From fetal imaging to end-of-life decisions, torts to international human rights, domestic violence to torture, and the law of war to victim impact statements, the law is awash in epistemological and ethical problems associated with knowing and imagining suffering. In each of these domains we might ask: How well do legal actors perceive and understand suffering in such varied domains of legal life? What problems of representation and interpretation bedevil efforts to grasp the suffering of others? What historical, political, literary, cultural, and/or theological resources can legal actors and citizens draw on to understand the suffering of others?

In Knowing the Suffering of Others, Austin Sarat presents legal scholarship that explores these questions and puts the problem of suffering at the center of thinking about law. The contributors to this volume do not regard pain and suffering as objective facts of a universe remote from law; rather they examine how both are discursively constructed in and by law. They examine how pain and suffering help construct and give meaning to the law as we know it. The authors attend to the various ways suffering appears in law as well as the different forms of suffering that require the law’s attention.

Throughout this book law is regarded as a domain in which the meanings of pain and suffering are contested, and constituted, as well as an instrument for inflicting suffering or for providing or refusing its relief. It challenges scholars, lawyers, students, and policymakers to ask how various legal actors and audiences understand the suffering of others.

Montré D. Carodine / Cathy Caruth / Alan L. Durham / Bryan K.Fair / Steven H. Hobbs / Gregory C. Keating
/ Linda Ross Meyer / Meredith M. Render / Jeannie Suk / John Fabian Witt

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Amherst College and the Justice Hugo L. Black Visiting Senior Faculty Scholar at the University of Alabama School of Law. He is the author or editor of over ninety books on law and society, including Imagining Legality: Where Law Meets Popular Culture. He is the editor of the journals Law, Culture, and Humanities and Studies in Law, Politics, and Society. He edits the Cultural Lives of Law book series.

Knowing the Suffering of Others represents a serious contribution not only to legal studies but also to cultural and interdisciplinary law-and-humanities scholarship. How, indeed, is it possible for the law to know suffering when it is so often either the cause or the outcome of this suffering? In considering suffering from this perspective and offering a range of methodologies and critical approaches, Sarat broadens the field to consider tort law and trauma and torture, among other critical issues. The strength of this volume lies in the diversity of perspectives it offers: its contributors are legal scholars, historians, and literary critics, and the book is thus able to cover considerable ground without sacrificing analytical depth.” — Ravit Reichman, author of The Affective Life of Law: Legal Modernism and the Literary Imagination

“This is a fantastic volume. The contributions are all very distinct from one another, and yet contribute in unexpected and interesting ways to the central thematic. Imagination is an extremely fruitful concept to pivot a collection such as this around, since it has a fluidity that is explored robustly in this volume.”
—Keally McBride, author of Collective Dreams: Political Imagination and Community, and Punishment and Political Order

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