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The Boundaries of Legal Personhood: Disability, Gender and the Cyborg

Renz, Flora (2023) The Boundaries of Legal Personhood: Disability, Gender and the Cyborg. Law and Critique, 35 (2). pp. 425-444. ISSN 0957-8536. (doi:10.1007/s10978-023-09350-9) (KAR id:101610)

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By considering the death of the disability activist Engracia Figueroa as the consequence of her wheelchair being damaged by an airline, this article asks whether law could accommodate a definition of legal personhood that encompasses the possibility of bodies augmented by prosthetics, technology, and mobility aids. The use of mobility aids by disabled people and the role of prosthetic penises in so-called “gender fraud” cases offer two useful provocations to consider the ways in which legal personhood, if defined as largely mapping on to an ideal, normative body, is becoming an increasingly inadequate legal concept in the modern age. Drawing on the work of Donna Haraway and the figure of the cyborg, this article argues that a more protean, flexible, and fluctuating understanding of legal personhood would offer both a more accurate and utopian conception of the body in law than the current essentialist approach found in a number of legal areas and particularly in English criminal law.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10978-023-09350-9
Projects: The Future of Legal Gender
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Flora Renz
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 09:49 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2024 14:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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