HEAL UoS

Next HEAL seminar: Sam Walker, ‘The Sword of Damocles: Criminal Law’s Shadow Over Contemporary Body Modification Practices’, Wed 22 April 4-5pm

In 2015, Meetings on April 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

The next HEAL Seminar will be held on Wednesday, 22 April 2015, from 4pm in Room 04/4053. Sam Walker (University of Manchester) will be speaking on The Sword of Damocles: Criminal Law’s Shadow Over Contemporary Body Modification Practices. All welcome. Any questions: please email heal@soton.ac.uk. 

ABSTRACT

I seek to demonstrate that the formal legal system is in conflict with the contemporary social practice of body modification. I will show that the social practice of body modification meets the definition of a convention as stated by David Lewis to which two attendant secondary conventions exist; one relating to the conduct of law enforcement agents and the other relating to the role of medicalisation. This leads, I will argue, to the existence of two conflicting normative systems which have only avoided conflict due to the presence of the two secondary conventions (primarily the one relating to enforcement). As a result of the potential for conflict between these two systems, due to the expansion of body modification techniques and technology, one or the other of them should be amended. I argue that the law concerning assault should be amended to explicitly permit body modification as a lawful activity.

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