Corporate Ideology and Legal Myth




Fawcett, Jacob

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This thesis is an analysis of the interplay of myth and ideology in the law, with special reference to problems of corporate power. The possibility of legal reform depends upon a formal autonomy of the law from the influence of ideology; because corporate law is particularly concerned with the capitalistic trends of centralization, concentration and hierarchy, liberal theory demands an especially decisive autonomy between these concerns and the interests of the ruling class. The semiological structure of law, however, has a definitively mythological character which is therefore vulnerable to ideology. The author, through an intensive study of Lochner v. New York, demonstrates the facilitation of corporate ideology through legal myth; in an extended survey of Supreme Court cases during the nineteenth century, he then sketches a history of myth using the Barthesian strategy of counter-myth. The author concludes with a brief discussion on the implications of myth and ideology for the opponents of corporate power.



Corporation, Myth, Ideology, Law, Barthes, Marx