Document Type



The essay falls into three major parts. In the first part, we explain and describe what we believe to be the core idea of law - that it represents a discursive and taxonomic economy which is used to give meaning to the world by creating a particular and partial reality. The concepts and language lawyers use, the way those media are deployed, the argumentative devices relied upon, and the values inculcated combine in conscious and unconscious ways to constitute law and a legal style of life. In part two, we tell two stories. One involves the Supreme Court's treatment of a young girl whose life was tragically altered after she participated in a public immunization program; the other involves the Court's treatment of a mining entrepreneur whose property had been devalued after he participated in a public parks program. The two stories represent a stark and compelling example of the power of ideas and the politics of taxonomy. In the third and final part, we explore alternative ways of telling these stories and make tentative suggestions for a more egalitarian vision of law and its intellectual foundations.