Abstract

In order to understand these distinct narratives of legal origin through the tools of narratology, we will proceed in several steps. First, we will define more precisely the set of social contract theories that we consider. We will discuss our decision to narrow the focus down to two social contract theorists in particular, one contemporary and one classical, John Rawls and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These two theorists seem worlds apart in many respects—yet the tools of narratology will enable us to see their shared enterprise. Second, the tools of narratology will help us to identify and discuss the component parts that define social contract narratives, namely, the creation of an original space and situation, the description of the act of contracting, and the way in which endings are used to frame and position all of the moving pieces into one linear and evolutionary storyline. We will then examine why narratology yields an interesting and fruitful analysis of these narratives. In concluding, we will link this endeavour to future ones, in which we intend to use the tools of ‘law and literature’ to make sense of the narratives, in theory and in practice, that give rise to and sustain legal and political order.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

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Co-author: Luke Norris

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