Kafka and legal critique

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Griffith Law Review, 2016, 25 (4), pp. 581 - 599
Issue Date:
2016-10-01
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© 2017 Griffith University. Kafka’s preoccupation with the law and legal institutions within his fictional writings has always been a particularly fecund source of ideas for legal and political philosophy. Notwithstanding the justifiable emphasis on the historical and biographical situation of Kafka’s literary texts in jurisprudential commentary, those texts may also serve a valuable, autonomous function as a form of legal critique that supplements the doctrinal approaches of conventional legal theory. With this context in mind, the article presents a critical reading of three dominant juridical themes in Kafka’s fiction: the relationship between slander and guilt; the significance of judgement over justice in the legal process; and the association of necessity and immanence in the constitution of the legal subject. It seeks to demonstrate the specific contributions to legal critique of the rhetorical, structural and aesthetic elements of Kafka’s fictional treatment of law and legal authority.
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