Law and Consent: Contesting the Common Sense

1st Edition

Karla M. O'Regan

Published July 16, 2019
Reference - 224 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 idealised and demonised 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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