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Institution and Abyss


This paper reflects on the relationship between institution and abyss, specifically the contingency of the elaboration of law’s institutional form upon the inaccessible and unspeakable otherness posited to lie beyond the realm of presence. It does this by bringing together Cotter’s enigmatic comics work Nod Away, Legendre’s psychoanalytic jurisprudence of institutional foundations in God in the Mirror, and Lovecraft’s nominally fictional case studies of the limits of representation. In undertaking this analysis, Cotter’s work is read as an example of a horrific jurisprudence that seeks to progressively reformulate our relationship with the imagined beyond. Nod Away—and horrific jurisprudence as a project—thus provides a conceptual method through which the founding conditions of law’s institutional appearance can be accessed, examined, and opened to the potential for radical reformation.

Published: 2020-11-21
Pages:150 to 171
Section: Symposium: Drawing the Human
How to Cite
Giddens, Thomas. 2020. “Institution and Abyss”. Law, Technology and Humans 2 (2):150-71.

Author Biography

University of Dundee
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Thomas Giddens is Lecturer in Law at the University if Dundee in Scotland. He is a critical, comics, and cultural legal scholar, with particular interests in aesthetics, epistemology, and visual culture. He is founding chair of the Graphic Justice Research Alliance and author of On Comics and Legal Aesthetics (Routledge 2018).

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074