Law and Critique

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 239–265 | Cite as

An Exploration into Law and Narratives: The Case of Intellectual Property Law of Biotechnology


This essay explores the possibility of applying narrative analysis as a tool for the socio-cultural study of law. Narrative is understood to be both a form of representation of reality, as well as a starting point into the enquiry about the nature of reality itself. Consequently, an analysis of legal narratives could help to assess law’s impact on our understanding of social reality and of ourselves. The narrative context, which is examined for its plot and metaphors, is the intellectual property law of human biotechnology. The legal representation of techno-scientific knowledge in intellectual property law is contrasted against other conceptions of science, especially with the ones that are put forward by scholars in science and technology studies and anthropology. It is argued that the present legal narrative of human biotechnology and intellectual property not only lacks sufficient understanding of the scientific knowledge-making process but also, importantly, that it is in need of a self-reflexive understanding of its own practice. At the end, the possibility of changing the present legal narrative will be probed with the help of different narrative theories of the self and of representation, which have been advanced by White, Taylor and MacIntyre.


Biotechnology Intellectual property law Law and literature Narratives Science and technology studies Representation 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law DepartmentLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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