Conceptions in the Code: How Metaphors Explain Legal Challenges in Digital Times

Forskningsoutput: Bok/rapportBok


Stefan Larsson’s Conceptions in the Code makes a significant contribution to sociolegal analysis and also represents a valuable contribution to conceptual metaphor theory. By utilising the case of copyright in a digital context it explains the role that metaphor plays when the law is dealing with technological change, displaying both conceptual path-dependence as well as what is called non-legislative developments in the law. 
The overall analysis draws from conceptual studies of “property” in intellectual property, and is by using Karl Renner’s account of property showing how the property regime of copyright is the projection of an older regime of control onto a new set of digital social relations. Moreover, through an analysis of the concept of “copy” in copyright as well as the metaphorical battle of defining the BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay in the Swedish court case with its founders, Larsson shows the historical and embodied dependence of digital phenomena, in law, and thereby how normative aspects of the source concept also stains the target domain. For example, was The Pirate Bay a platform, a storage service or a bulletin board? – the outcome of this metaphorical battle fought through legal means came to define the outcome of the case. 
In addition, the book draws from empirical studies on file sharing and historical expressions of the conceptualisation of law, revealing both the cultural bias of both file sharing and law. Also law is thereby shown to be largely depending on metaphors and embodiment to be reified and understood. The contribution is relevant for the conceptual and regulatory struggles of a multitude of contemporary socio-digital phenomena in addition to copyright and file sharing, including big data and the often praised “openness” of digital innovation.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Juridik och samhälle
  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik
  • Teknik och teknologier


  • technology and social change, metaphor, metaphor theory, conceptual metaphor theory, cognitive theory, path dependence, conceptual path dependence, skeuomorphs, skeuomorphism, copyright, intellectual property, file sharing, piracy, the pirate bay, platforms, sociology of law, framing, socio-legal research, law & society, Lakoff, Lessig, creativity, innovation, legitimacy, legality, social norms
FörlagOxford University Press
Antal sidor256
ISBN (tryckt)9780190650384
StatusPublished - 2017 feb 23
Peer review utfördJa


NamnOxford Studies in Language and Law
FörlagOxford University Press

Relaterad forskningsoutput

Katzenbach, C. & Stefan Larsson, 2018 jan 29, Encore: The Annual Magazine on Internet and Society Research. Berlin: The Alexander Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Vol. 2017. s. 8 11 s.

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/Conference proceedingKapitel samlingsverk

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Related projects

Stefan Larsson


Projekt: ForskningIndividuellt forskningsprojekt

Stefan Larsson


Projekt: ForskningTvärvetenskaplig forskning

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Relaterade aktiviteter

Larsson, S. (Huvudtalare)
2018 feb 8

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Larsson, S. (Huvudtalare)
2017 sep 28

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Larsson, S. (Inbjuden talare)
2017 sep 21

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