Mediating non-persons: on Daniel Heller-Roazen's Absentees

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Daniel Heller-Roazen’s Absentees: On Variously Missing Persons (2021) develops a general theory of the “nonperson” through critical and philological analysis of legal, theological, and literary texts. This review-essay engages with Heller-Roazen’s arguments firstly by considering how social and political constructions of personhood and nonpersonhood have been mediated by processes and artifacts that are historically and culturally specific. Acknowledging the specificity of such forms is, the essay argues, of crucial importance if we are to understand historical and cultural differences in the allocation of both personhood and nonpersonhood. In its final part, the essay turns from historical specifics to the somewhat more abstract question of future persons, in order to consider how Heller-Roazen’s theorization of nonpersonhood might inform contemporary debates about the ethical claim of future generations to the attention and care of present societies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalCritical Analysis of Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022


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