Laurent de Sutter: Poétique de la police

Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2017

This book does not offer a “dry” legal theoretical or legal philosophical discourse, but rather a moving reflection of “law in action” that does not shy away from theory.  By addressing the fascinating genre of police films, Laurent de Sutter takes up the cultural-scientific challenge on the search for the reality of law to not dismiss the law’s symbolic representations, but rather take them seriously as constitutive components of social legal validity.

The quest for the creative principle of the police – their “poiesis” – leads to the realization that it would be a mistake to understand symbolic representations as a pure guarantor of “law and order”. Moreover, they often play a part in the suspension of the law as well as in the corruption of its own order – an expression of a distinct form of the “de-differentiating culture” in which the boundaries of politics as well as those of the law, police, and economy will be fluid.  If the application of the law structurally always contains elements of violence and injustice in itself, then the police cannot escape this aporia and must inevitably contradict themselves in their actions. Such forms of creating and dismantling boarders are what the author gathers in his film analyses of pop-cultural presentations of the police, thus making it enjoyable to see old classic films from a new perspective.

In French

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About the Author:

Prof. Dr. Laurent de Sutter is Professor of Legal Theory at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Among other activities, he is also the managing editor of the series Perspectives Critiques (Presses Universitaires de France) and Theory Redux (Polity Press). Laurent de Sutter was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities from October 2014 to September 2015.