There is an absence of absence in legal geography and materialist studies of the law. Drawing on a multi-sited ethnography of European asylum appeal hearings, this paper illustrates the importance of absences for a fully-fledged materiality of legal events. We show how absent materials impact hearings, that non-attending participants profoundly influence them, and that even when participants are physically present, they are often simultaneously absent in other, psychological registers. In so doing we demonstrate the importance and productivity of thinking not only about law’s omnipresence but also the absences that shape the way law is experienced and practised. We show that attending to the distribution of absence and presence at legal hearings is a way to critically engage with legal performance.
|Journal||Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2020|