Atmospheric Aestheses: Law as Affect

  • Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos


Law as commodity value is not a new position. The most easily recognisable forms of law (state law, private law, corporations’ law, etc.) have always been associated with an economic value. Law’s commodity value, however, is increasingly superseded by its affective value, namely law’s ability to stage itself and communicate to the world that itself and none other is the law. This is not purely a declaratory need: it is not enough for law to say that it is law. It has to stage itself in a consumer-oriented way, to market itself in a socially engaging way and to package itself in a media-appetising aesthetic way. Legal aesthetics is now all about understanding the aesthetic practices the law employs in order to prove itself socially relevant. This is not an isolated legal phenomenon but largely a consequence of a shift in aesthetics as a whole, from the ontology of definition (beauty, art, sublime) to the new ontology of apparition (or staging). From the society of discipline (Foucault) to that of control (Deleuze), and now to that of self-staging, the law deals with the need for legitimation by marketing itself as desirable. This legal ‘selfie’, as it were, relies on manipulation of affects to generate an atmosphere in which the law can carry on proving itself relevant.


Atmospherics Aestheses Affect Body Corporeality Law Lawscape 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WestminsterLondonUK

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