Date: 14 Dec 2006

The legal file

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Abstract

In this essay I examine the criminal defense file. I argue that being a largely neglected “object” of the legal field, upon a close examination, the file discloses its intriguing materiality as what is predicated on the structure of the fold that allows for the objective, virtual, and narrative spheres to overlap in a specific act-object, which, with Gilles Deleuze, I call objectile. A subsequent phenomenological analysis of the legal file as objectile shows how its constitutive features help the attorney shape ordinary matters into plentiful matters, turning the file into a locally designed sign system. Once exposed, this system reveals its relations to the legal system at large, with individual activities, institutional practices, and legal procedures all being a part of a complex manifold that is law.