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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?
The Swedish Academy Glossary (SAOL) does not list a definition for the term ‘overall assessment’. However, the term ‘overall assessment’ refers to a number of factors, aspects or perspectives that are brought together into a comprehensive assessment, an overall assessment. In this book, the word has a more specific meaning. An overall assessment means that a choice must be made between several possible decision options using certain criteria in order to achieve one or more objectives. This definition addresses both the meaning and the purpose of an overall assessment. Virtually everyone makes overall assessments on a daily basis. This might involve big, important things like purchasing a home: What is our price range? What city/neighbourhood? Running costs (taxes, maintenance, utilities)? Proximity to daycare, school and work? Renovation needs? And so on. Or the assessment might involve where the family should go on holiday. There are a few options (e.g., Spain, Bulgaria or Italy) and a number of selection criteria such as cost, climate and how child-friendly it is. Another example is buying a new car, which will be explored in detail later on. Even in such cases, there are several different options to consider when evaluating the different car models, which have different prices, different environmental performance, different collision safety and comfort levels, and so on.