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7 Law & Human. [i] (2013)

handle is hein.journals/lawhuman7 and id is 1 raw text is: Editorial
Paul Raffield and Gary Watt
We are delighted that this issue of Law and Humanities contains a very diverse range
of subject matter and that our contributors have been drawn from an equally diverse
range of places. From Australia, we have an article on automobile masculinities in law
and television; from the US we have an article on oaths in legal proceedings in early
modern England; from Belgium we have an article on the constitutional and constitutive
importance of narrative in law; from England, a paper which seeks to reintroduce the
humanity which legal processes excluded from the narrative of a famous case in English
law of property; and from a scholar moving between England, Paris and New York we
have a piece which argues that the narrative nature of law bears a productive relation to
the narrative nature of dance.
In their article 'The Cutting Edge of Cocking About: Top Gear, Automobility
and Law, Kieran Tranter and Damien Martin offer a most entertaining and stimulat-
ing study of the BBC programme Top Gear, which, they point out, can claim to be the
most watched television show in the world. They argue that Top Gear is constituted as
legally relevant because it promotes a norm of transgression - speed limits and other
limits are presented as rules to be broken. Their hopeful reading of Top Gear considers
that through humour and irony the programme 'allows the letting go of combustion
masculinity and enables transition to less competitive, more risk sensitive, more law-
ful masculinities' One such, they argue, is the 'hydraulic masculinity' of the man who
restores trains and classic cars. They argue that 'the constituent elements of hydraulic
masculinity-care, making, responsibility-have a future' which combustive masculini-
ties do not. The possibility that automobile masculinities might have a legal character is
intriguing. The true test will come in particular cases. Suppose, for example, that a man
wants to restore a classic 1950s sports car. He will have the choice to put seat belts in it.
If he chooses not to, which norm does he abide by-is it the norm of 'hydraulic' care for
tradition or the norm of 'combustive' desire for risk? Top Gear does not have a monop-
oly on humour and irony. In a teasing and transgressive way, Tranter and Martin have
elegantly raised a fundamental challenge to classic assumptions about the text-based,
rule-based nature of legality.
The next article in this issue is part two of Barbara Shapiro's IOaths, Credibility
and the Legal Process in Early Modern England, the first part of which appeared in the
issue for December 2012. The evidentiary role of oath-taking in early modern England
had been substantially neglected before George Fisher engaged with the issue. Shap-

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