What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law?

Transaction paper - German court room
Typical hearing room layout in Berlin, Germany.  – Credit: Nicole Hoellerer & Yamen Albadin

What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law? Absence and the assembling of asylum appeal hearings in Europe

Nick Gill, Jennifer Allsopp, Andrew Burridge, Dan Fisher, Melanie Griffiths, Jessica Hambly, Nicole Hoellerer, Natalia Paszkiewicz, Rebecca Rotter (2020)

Abstract

There is an absence of absence in legal geography and materialist studies of the law. Drawing on a multi‐sited ethnography of European asylum appeal hearings, this paper illustrates the importance of absences for a fully‐fledged materiality of legal events. We show how absent materials impact hearings, that non‐attending participants profoundly influence them, and that even when participants are physically present, they are often simultaneously absent in other, psychological registers. In so doing we demonstrate the importance and productivity of thinking not only about law’s omnipresence but also the absences that shape the way law is experienced and practised. We show that attending to the distribution of absence and presence at legal hearings is a way to critically engage with legal performance.

 

Gill, N, Allsopp, J, Burridge, A, et al. What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law? Absence and the assembling of asylum appeal hearings in Europe. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; 00: 1– 15. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12399

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12399

Open accessThis is an open access paper, available here.