Law Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Journal

Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly

Volume

57

Issue

4

First Page

610

Abstract

Legal pluralism stands in counterpoint to conceptions of l~ that sharply distinguish the legal from the non-legal. This essay considers a neglected feature of classical legal theory - prescriptivism - that sustains this binary ambition. Prescriptivists assert that legal artefacts such as norms are distinct from the human world upon which they operate. Each of centralism, monism, positivism and prescriptivism subsu'!1es diverse associational nomoi · into the nomos of a given community, often the State, thereby creating a nomopoly. To the prescriptivist, human beings are subjects under an external sphere of law. The anti-prescriptivist perspective invites legal subjects to imagine themselves as legal agents and to discover the normative potential of their own actions. In so doing, these legal agents are staking a position "against nomopolies ", however constituted

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