Nome law: Deleuze & Guattari on the emergence of law

Research paper by Jamie Murray

Indexed on: 05 Apr '06Published on: 05 Apr '06Published in: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique


This article orientates Deleuze & Guattari’s pragmatic semiotics towards a semiotics of law. This pragmatic semiotics is explored, and directly related to the theory of emergence and complexity that is also a key feature of Deleuze & Guattari’s work. It is suggested that the development of these aspects of Deleuze & Guattari’s thought in relation to law allows the contours of a noological legal theory to be sketched out. Noology is the study of images of thought, their emergence, their genealogy, and their creation. A first exploration of this noological legal theory is then carried out by the conceptualisation of nome law as the first emergence of law as theorised by Deleuze & Guattari in the plateau “1837: Of the Refrain” from “A Thousand Plateaus”. This is a conceptualisation of law’s emergence in a far-from-equilibrium palaeolithic hunter-gatherer pack, and contrasts to accounts of law’s origin in a founding violence or mythical contract. It is the ‘big bang’ of legality, and the opening up of a first image of legality, problematic of social organisation, and anthropomorphic knowledge space.