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Anna Grear

This chapter argues that international environmental law and international human rights law, despite the existence of tensions between them, show hopeful signs of progress in their relationship. The chapter also argues that despite such signs of progress, both legal domains share problematic subject-object relations tending towards environmental degradation and linked to historical patterns of oppression. Once such subject-object relations are addressed, it might be possible, with sufficient imagination, for such understanding to become the departure point for a reconfigured relationship between the two legal domains – and ultimately, for their transformation.
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Anna Grear

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?

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Anna Grear

This Chapter suggests that sustained reflection on the patterns and history of climate injustice reveal that the role, function and constitution of legal subjectivity is fundamental to the genesis of the climate crisis: that legal subjectivity operationalizes an assumed order of priority (a socio-juridical hierarchy) between human beings, between human beings and non-human animals, between human beings and the ecosystems – and so forth. The Chapter explores the idea that the climate crisis itself is as much a crisis of human hierarchy mediated by the dominant legal order, as it is a crisis in the ‘natural order’ brought about by anthropogenic human activities.
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Anna Grear

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Anna Grear

The recent high-level emergence of ‘climate justice’ in the normative and policy discourse addressing the social and legal aspects of climate change is welcome. However, certain dangers of co-option face the concept as it gains institutional traction. Drawing on a critical theoretical reading of the patterns of climate injustice and their relationship with liberal legal subjectivity (and with the related themes of the politics of dis/embodiment, corporate juridical privilege, (neo)colonialism and the highly uneven structure of globalized world order), this article argues that ‘climate justice’ is more likely to sustain the necessary resistive critical energies if informed by critical legal reflection on historical and contemporary patterns of climate injustice, particularly as they emerge in relation to the privileged trope of liberal legal subjectivity and the juridical privileging of the corporate form. Future policy directions indicated by the analysis are briefly introduced.

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Edited by Anna Grear

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Anna Grear

While some accounts of rights and property paradigms see property as an inherent incident of a colonizing form of human rights law and discourse, others draw out the contradictions between them, suggesting that human rights and property have opposing impulses towards inclusion and exclusion respectively. While not rejecting the insights of either of these positions, the author argues that a fundamental ambivalence lies at the heart of human rights law and discourse demonstrating both oppressive and emancipatory potential. This ambivalence is, the author argues, also internal to the Western property concept – a claim facilitating a renewed emphasis upon property's inclusory potential as an institutional foundation for a more eco-humane and vulnerability-responsive ordering of legal relations.

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Editorial

Where Discourses Meet

Edited by Anna Grear