Law and Consent: Contesting the Common Sense

1st Edition

Karla M. O'Regan

July 12, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 264 Pages
ISBN 9781138612501 - CAT# K389269

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Consent is used in many different social and legal contexts with the pervasive understanding that it is, and has always been, about autonomy - but has it? 

Beginning with an overview of consent's role in law today, this book investigates the doctrine's inseparable association with personal autonomy and its effect in producing both idealized and demonized forms of personhood and agency. This prompts a search for alternative understandings of consent. Through an exploration of sexual offences in Antiquity, medical practice in the Middle Ages, and the regulation of bodily harm on the present-day sports field, this book demonstrates that, in contrast to its common sense story of autonomy, consent more often operates as an act of submission than as a form of personal freedom or agency. The book explores the implications of this counter-narrative for the law’s contemporary uses of consent, arguing that the kind of freedom consent is meant to enact might be foreclosed by the very frame in which we think about autonomy itself. 


This book will be of interest to scholars of many aspects of law, history, and feminism, as well as students of criminal law, bioethics, and political theory.

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