Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Sovereign NecropolisThe Politics of Death in Semi-Colonial Siam$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Trais Pearson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501740152

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501740152.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 25 June 2022

Accidental Metaphysics

Accidental Metaphysics

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 4 Accidental Metaphysics
Source:
Sovereign Necropolis
Author(s):

Trais Pearson

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501740152.003.0005

This chapter analyzes the adoption and adaptation of tacit assumptions about human identity, agency, and responsibility that underlie legal liberalism—in other words, the metaphysics of civil law. Crucial to any effort to understand the boundaries of human agency and responsibility lies the notion of the accident. Although the accident masquerades as timeless and commonsensical, it is in fact a historical and cultural artifact: ubatihet, the Thai term, is a neologism dating to the late nineteenth century. Charting its introduction through etymological and historical linguistic evidence—as well as in practice as part of municipal governance—the chapter argues that the accident functioned as one axis of a metaphysical grid for representing social life and as a means of further codifying the identity of the Siamese legal subject. In both respects, the accident must be understood as part of a conservative grammar of rule: predicated on a secular-naturalistic vision of social life, it defined the legal subject in negative terms. Attending to the accident as a historical site of cultural production, the chapter destabilizes the naturalistic posture of legal reasoning and undermines celebratory narratives of law as a humanizing force.

Keywords:   of civil law, accidents, ubatihet, social life, Siamese legal subject, legal liberalism, legal liberalism, municipal governance

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.