Zombie law: conjugality, annulment and the (married) living dead

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Brook, Heather Jane
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Springer Verlag
Copyright (2013) Springer Verlag.
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Springer Verlag.
This article deploys and extends Ulrich Beck’s critique of ‘zombie categories’ (Beck in J Consum Cult 1 (2):261–277, 2001) to consider how conjugal relationships are brought into being before the law. The argument presented here is that sexual performatives relating to marriage—and especially, in this instance, consummation—continue to produce a kind of social-legal magic, even as the social flesh of their enactment is rotting. Rules concerning annulment relating to wedding ceremonies, consent, disclosure, and consummation demonstrate that certain frameworks of conjugality involve a kind of corporeal magic animating the privileged place of heterosexual marriage. Thus, rules and regulations pertaining to weddings continue to produce and protect heterogendered, sexually dimorphous bodies, even though this privileging is—or at least, is becoming—socially obsolete.
This item is under embargo for a period of 12 months from the date of publication, in accordance with the publisher's policy. Author version will be available from May 2015. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10691-013-9246-9
Brook, H. (2014). Zombie law: conjugality, annulment and the (married) living dead. Feminist Legal Studies, 22(1) pp. 49-66.