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In Search of Heimat: A Note on Franz Kafka's Concept of Law

Banakar, Reza LU (2010) In Law and Literature 22(3). p.463-490
Abstract
Are Fran T Kafka's representations of law and legality figments of his imagination, or do they go beyond his obsessive probing of his neurosis to reflect issues that also engaged the social and legal theorists of his time? Does Kafka's conception of law offer anything new in respect to law, justice, and bureaucracy that was not explored by his contemporaries or by later legal scholars? This paper uses Kafka's office writings as a starting point for reexamining the images of law, bureaucracy, hierarchy, and authority in his fiction-images that are traditionally treated as metaphors for things other than law. The paper will argue that the legal images in Kafka's fiction are worthy of examination, not only because of their bewildering,... (More)
Are Fran T Kafka's representations of law and legality figments of his imagination, or do they go beyond his obsessive probing of his neurosis to reflect issues that also engaged the social and legal theorists of his time? Does Kafka's conception of law offer anything new in respect to law, justice, and bureaucracy that was not explored by his contemporaries or by later legal scholars? This paper uses Kafka's office writings as a starting point for reexamining the images of law, bureaucracy, hierarchy, and authority in his fiction-images that are traditionally treated as metaphors for things other than law. The paper will argue that the legal images in Kafka's fiction are worthy of examination, not only because of their bewildering, enigmatic, bizarre, profane, and alienating effects or because of the deeper theological or existential meanings they suggest, but also as exemplifications of a particular concept of law and legality that operates paradoxically as an integral part of the human condition under modernity. To explore this point, the paper places Kafka's conception of law in the context of his overall writing, which the paper presents as a series of representations of the modern search for a lost Heimat. Kafka's writing, the paper argues, takes us beyond the instrumental understanding of law advanced by various schools of legal positivism and allows us to grasp law as a form of experience. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
authority, justice, legality, living law, state law, literature, rationality, rhetoric, Gesellschaft, community, Gemeinschaft, Kafka, Heimat, bureaucracy, positivism, sociolegal
in
Law and Literature
volume
22
issue
3
pages
463 - 490
publisher
University of California Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000284920500005
  • scopus:79952877770
ISSN
1541-2601
DOI
10.1525/lal.2010.22.3.463
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3d5cb7e6-77a3-4340-b286-4ac37e3e945f (old id 1773726)
date added to LUP
2011-02-02 14:37:00
date last changed
2018-05-29 12:31:32
@article{3d5cb7e6-77a3-4340-b286-4ac37e3e945f,
  abstract     = {Are Fran T Kafka's representations of law and legality figments of his imagination, or do they go beyond his obsessive probing of his neurosis to reflect issues that also engaged the social and legal theorists of his time? Does Kafka's conception of law offer anything new in respect to law, justice, and bureaucracy that was not explored by his contemporaries or by later legal scholars? This paper uses Kafka's office writings as a starting point for reexamining the images of law, bureaucracy, hierarchy, and authority in his fiction-images that are traditionally treated as metaphors for things other than law. The paper will argue that the legal images in Kafka's fiction are worthy of examination, not only because of their bewildering, enigmatic, bizarre, profane, and alienating effects or because of the deeper theological or existential meanings they suggest, but also as exemplifications of a particular concept of law and legality that operates paradoxically as an integral part of the human condition under modernity. To explore this point, the paper places Kafka's conception of law in the context of his overall writing, which the paper presents as a series of representations of the modern search for a lost Heimat. Kafka's writing, the paper argues, takes us beyond the instrumental understanding of law advanced by various schools of legal positivism and allows us to grasp law as a form of experience.},
  author       = {Banakar, Reza},
  issn         = {1541-2601},
  keyword      = {authority,justice,legality,living law,state law,literature,rationality,rhetoric,Gesellschaft,community,Gemeinschaft,Kafka,Heimat,bureaucracy,positivism,sociolegal},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {463--490},
  publisher    = {University of California Press},
  series       = {Law and Literature},
  title        = {In Search of Heimat: A Note on Franz Kafka's Concept of Law},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/lal.2010.22.3.463},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2010},
}