law and enjoyment

Daniel Hourigan’s book Law and Enjoyment: Power, Pleasure and Psychoanalysis (Routledge 2015) was recently awarded third prize in the internal University of Southern Queensland’s Publication Excellence Awards for Authored Books. The award showcases research and esteemed publication, and rewards the improvement of USQ’s research performance. Law and Enjoyment was also a finalist for the Association’s 2015 Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature and the Humanities.

Noted legal theorist Richard A. Posner highlighted in 1986 that “academic law…is busily ransacking the social sciences and humanities for insights and approaches with which to enrich [its] understandings” (“Law and Literature: A Relation Reargued ,” 72 Virginia Law Review 1351 (1986). 1351). In Law and Enjoyment Hourigan re-casts Posner’s original concern by situating the law as a lens for considering literature (and literary criticism).  To do this, Hourigan mobilises methodological psychoanalysis as the bridge to consider how the law is positioned within and through literature. This is a significant refocusing of the approach taken by scholars working the interdiciplinary borders of the law and literature and offers a new insight into considering how these disciplines might inform each other. By taking the central thematic enjoyment as its base point, Law and Enjoyment considers the popular representation of the law and the effects this has on the ways the law is understood and negotiated in the popular imaginary. This positioning of enjoyment as the mobilising force for considering the role of law through literature (and popular culture broadly) provides a fresh perspective for this field.