For much of the history of the western legal order, jurisdiction has been the first question of law. This book investigates the difference that jurisdiction continues to make to the ordering of normative existence. It also follows the speculation that without an account of jurisdiction, jurisprudence would be left speechless, with no power to address the conditions of attachment to legal and political order. The starting point of this book lies with the claim that a sharper focus can be given to normative legal ordering through questions of jurisdiction than can be through those of moral responsibility or social action. This is so because jurisdiction articulates both the potentiality of law and the conditions of its exercise. It provides the idiom of response to the fact that there is law and to the fact that law institutes, judges and addresses a form of life. From this viewpoint the contributors to this book examine the institution of human rights, the new global and national orders of sovereign power and of trade and information, the judgment and government of death and desire, and the address of colonial and post-colonial legal idioms.
In doing this the contributors also provide for the elaboration of questions of jurisdiction as part of the resources and repertoires of jurisprudence. This book provides a point of entry to an emergent genre of writing within doctrinal, historical and critical jurisprudence that has returned to questions of jurisdiction to think again about juridical order and change. In so doing, it also points to questions that must be asked for there to be any interdisciplinary study that addresses law.