How does law make place? Localisation, translocalisation and thing-law at the world's first factory

BENNETT, Luke (2016). How does law make place? Localisation, translocalisation and thing-law at the world's first factory. Geoforum, 74, 182-191.

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Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.06.008


This article examines how law is implicated in the formation of place, and how place in turn can shape law. It is an empirical explication of Latour’s call for researchers to study the global through its local instantiations. Drawing upon recent theoretical work in both material culture studies and legal geography the article examines the interplay of law and material formations at one originating site, Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mills in Derbyshire in order to examine the creation and circulation of a new form of place in the late eighteenth century: the industrial scale cotton mill. It shows how a diverse range of legal elements ranging across patent law, the Calico Acts and ancient local Derbyshire lead mining laws all helped to shape that place-form, its proliferation across the United Kingdom, and ultimately further afield. In doing so the article conceptualises processes of localisation, translocalisation and thing-law by which the abstractions of both place-forms and law elements become activated through their pragmatic local emplacement. Whilst the case study concerns 200 year old place-making machinations, many of the spatio-legal articulations of Arkwright and his opponents have a surprisingly modern feel about them. The paper therefore advocates the benefits of a longitudinal, historical approach to the study of place-making, and in particular, calls for a greater attentiveness in legal geography to law’s role in the intentional formation of (work)places by their owners. Keywords : legal geography; cotton; place; factory; Arkwright; Cromford; Lead mining

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Built Environment Division Research Group
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.06.008
Depositing User: Luke Bennett
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 14:42
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2018 20:46

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