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Chapter 1 introduces the phenomenon of outsourced law, which is characterised by the imposition of goals, while leaving it to the addressees to devise the means by which these goals can be achieved. It is argued that the kind of regulation that is developed in this way should not be regarded as separate from formal law. Law and regulation are different and interconnected styles of guiding human behaviour. In order to analyse and contrast these styles a philosophical perspective is called for. Law and regulation should be studied as normative orders with a dynamic of their own; they are not just steering instruments. Outsourced law will be studied by analysing the types of rules that are produced as well as the way people actually use these products, by analysing underlying aspirations and by examining the many intended or unintended changes that are brought about by the adoption of that style.
Law’s paradigmatic subject has been criticized, especially by feminist theorists, as being relatively invulnerable, complexly disembodied, rationalistic and separative. This is a subject at a constructed ‘centre’ for whom living materiality – even the human body itself – is merely an extended, object-ified periphery – and for whom epistemological mastery and a scopophilic view ‘from nowhere’ reflects a relentlessly assumed ontological priority. Against the impugned Cartesian and Kantian assumptions underlying traditional liberal legal subjectivity, and its subject-object relations, this chapter explores the theoretical gains offered by foregrounding, in place of the ‘autonomous liberal subject’, the notion of vulnerable, embodied eco-subjectivities explicitly interwoven within a vulnerable ecology. What implications could or should such a theoretical approach have for environmental law and processes? What might replace the binary subject-object relations assumed by the autonomous liberal subject, and what kind of juridical imaginary might be instituted by foregrounding the openness and affectability of vulnerability?