Angela Condello (Rome/Bonn): Exemplarity as a Form of Normativity: How Individual Narratives Have Shaped American Legal Culture and the Construction of “Privacy”

Lecture event in conjunction with the North American Studies Program of the University of Bonn as part of the Forum “Law as Culture”.


In my talk I will focus on one theme and one case study. The theme is exemplarity and the case study is the jurisprudential construction of the concept of “privacy” in the frame of the US Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Starting from a clarification of the semantic roots of exemplarity, I will thematize the relevance of the interconnection between law and exemplarity. I will explain what I mean by “law” and by “exemplarity”.

Against this background, I will then present my thesis: exemplarity shows the link between legal discourse, politics and culture, better than other forms of normativity. In order to flesh out my thesis, the Supreme Court jurisprudence on privacy provides for a very effective paradigm. Exemplary judgements can function as tools to accelerate a political agenda (rhetorical dimension of exemplarity), and they can also work as media to transfer a savoir (cognitive dimension of exemplarity) from the individual case to the agorà.

The different dimensions of exemplarity coexist in legal discourse and the normativity of exempla thus constitutes a pertinent perspective from which the multi-dimensional character of normativity can be discussed.

Dr. Angela Condello

Curriculum Vitae

Legal philosopher Angela Condello studied Law at the University of Turin and at the University of Rome III, where she received her doctorate for her thesis entitled “Ana-logica”. She teaches Law and the Humanities at the University of Rome III and Philosophical Perspectives on Human Rights at Arcadia College of Italian Studies. She worked (as of 2013) and she currently cooperates with the Human Rights Committee of the Italian “Senate of the Republic”. Since the beginning of 2014, she is a membre associé at the Centre d’étude des normes juridiques “Yan Thomas” (CENJ) at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris and since 2013 she regularly writes in various Italian newspapers on law, politics and philosophy. Since January 2014 she is Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.