Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2016

Publication Citation

23 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 743 (2016)


How is the person to be conceptualized in law? Is it subject or object, what is its ontology and teleology? These are old questions, but ones newly raised by changing ideas of the province of the state, technology, and the extension of legality. Examples include the protection of the fetus in utero; contractualization of relationships, including those of welfare; the regulation of intimacy; the idea of government business; interventions in the business of the firm; and challenges to legal entitihood as constructing personhood. Much discussion of these is incommensurable in terms of place, culture, and discipline. This article ventures a way of thinking about law's person that renders such conversations possible. This is to displace the person as central to the idea of law; rather, law should be conceptualized as a discursive structure within a rationality of government. In this the legal person-and, indeed, the human being if the analysis is taken further-are artefacts of techniques of governing. The person thus seen is not a single concept but a variety of constructs of particular programs of legal change. The contexts, differences and similarities between them are rendered visible.