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Accepted Paper:

Pluriversal Worlding of (Hydro)commons: Reimagining alongside and beyond 'Legal Personhood'  
Nabanita Samanta (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay)

Paper short abstract:

While unpacking the ontological assumptions entrenched to the imperatives for attributing 'legal personhood' to water and the specificities of 'worlding' that emanates from it, this paper alludes to the possibilities of going beyond it by way of attending to the dynamics of relational intra-action.

Paper long abstract:

Within the broader corpus of 'rights of nature' discourses and the emerging paradigm of 'earth jurisprudence', there has been a significant thrust on bestowing 'legal personhood' to rivers and other waterbodies. This proposed paper seeks to unpack the nuances entailed in the intent and implications stemming from the very enterprise of attributing 'legal personhood' to water. Indeed, the politico-legal imaginary of 'rights' and 'legal personhood' calls for a specific kind of 'worlding'; however, the personification of water is not new as rivers have long been viewed as 'living being' in several of the indigenous cosmologies. Nonetheless, the codification of 'personhood' in formal terms certainly open up a problem-space for analyzing the onto-epistemic embedding of legal discourses. At the ontological plane, the modernist juridical frame of 'personhood' invokes the imaginary of an individuated and seemingly 'independent' legal subject, thus any attempt of fitting the aqueous ecology into the given scheme fails to account for the porousness and permeability that remains at the heart of our inter/intra-connected existence as watery beings. While problematizing the assumptions entrenched to the imperative for taking a recourse to 'rights' and promulgation of 'legal personhood', this paper alludes to far more radical possibilities that can be unleashed by way of reckoning and redeeming a conscious gaze towards our inevitable porosity as watery beings. Expanding the legal imaginary by way of forging plurilogue among and across diverse onto-epistemological framings of watery embodiment lays the ground for pluriversal worlding of the 'hydrocommons' thriving upon intra-actional relationalities.

Panel P120a
Legal Worlds; Worlding Law
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -