At Home in the Law


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How the Domestic Violence Revolution Is Transforming Privacy

Jeannie Suk

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In the past forty years, the idea of home, which is central to how the law conceives of crime, punishment, and privacy, has changed radically. Legal scholar Jeannie Suk shows how the legitimate goal of legal feminists to protect women from domestic abuse has led to a new and unexpected set of legal practices.

Suk examines case studies of major legal developments in contemporary American law pertaining to domestic violence, self-defense, privacy, sexual autonomy, and property in order to illuminate the changing relation between home and the law. She argues that the growing legal vision that has led to the breakdown of traditional boundaries between public and private space is resulting in a substantial reduction of autonomy and privacy for both women and men.

Jeannie Suk is a professor at Harvard Law School. A former Supreme Court law clerk and Guggenheim Fellow, she studied literature at Yale and Oxford, and law at Harvard.

“Jeannie Suk has written an exemplary book that demonstrates law’s humanity while exploring the deep link between law and the humanities.  Her study of the concept of the ‘home’ in law, literature, and social theory is a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the needs and interests of human security.”—Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenburg Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

“A fascinating analysis of our changing conceptions of privacy, gender, and the reach of the law. Suk’s incisive analyses are expressed in engaging prose and enlivened with gripping examples. The book will be just as interesting to lay people as it is to legal scholars.”—Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought

“A deeply interesting, original, and also a troubling book.  Jeannie Suk, in a persuasive analysis that calls on cultural as well as legal understanding, shows dramatically how the law has entered the home in unexpected ways.”—Peter Brooks, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, Princeton University

"An expertly written and thought-provoking read, At Home in the Law is an unflinching account of the unintended consequences of legal reform and the power of the law to undermine the most private of spaces."--Harvard Law Review
ISBN: 9780300172621
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
224 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4