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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that normative orders are not simply represented but made through visualities. Rather than just having a subversive purpose, images, symbols, gestures, and performative actions are able to generate legal meaning; this has been discussed since early Renaissance. The reason for the troubled relationship between law and visuality is connected to the long history of skepticism toward the authenticity of images. This chapter looks into the ties between the law and image history and shows that visual media have to be counted as a crucial part of the legal sphere. Both aesthetic knowledge and aesthetic signification of legal normativity have a long historical record. The chapter argues that since the law deploys visual media in different contexts, critical instruments and theoretical approaches must be able to deal with the epistemological qualities of images.

Keywords: aesthetics, legal archaeology, iconology, image history, normativity, optical media, sign theory, spectacle, theory of symbols, visual literacy

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