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Polyphonic legality: power of attorney through dialogic interaction

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journal contribution
posted on 13.09.2018 by Rosie Harding, Elizabeth Peel
Building on Bakhtin’s work on discourse, this paper uses the concept of polyphony to explore capacity law praxis. Drawing on everyday interaction about power of attorney, we demonstrate how legal, lay, and medical understandings of capacity operate dialogically, with each voice offering distinct expressions of legality. Analysing lay and medical interactions about Lasting Power of Attorney - the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of a person who loses the mental capacity to make their own decisions - we argue power of attorney holds a ‘polyphonic legality’. We argue that legal concepts (like power of attorney) are constructed not solely through official law, but through dialogic interaction in their discursive fields. We suggest ‘polyphonic legality’ offers an innovative approach to understanding how law works in everyday life, which is attentive to the rich texture of legality created by and through the multiple voices and domains of socio-legal regulation.

Funding

This work was supported by the British Academy grant numbers SG1000017, MCF110142 and MD150026.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Social and Legal Studies

Volume

28

Issue

5

Pages

675 - 697

Citation

HARDING, R. and PEEL, E., 2018. Polyphonic legality: power of attorney through dialogic interaction. Social and Legal Studies, 28 (5), pp.675-697.

Publisher

SAGE Publications (© The Authors)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

06/09/2018

Publication date

2018-10-23

ISSN

0964-6639

eISSN

1461-7390

Language

en

Exports