Publication Date



Legalities: The Journal of Law and Society in Australia and New Zealand


A striking aspect of the current American cultural divide is divergent attitudes towards expertise, generally, and masking and vaccination to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically. Liberal pundits profess shock that Red State America won’t just ‘trust the science’. On the right, politicians and television personalities reject mandates in the name of ‘freedom’.

Lacanian discourse theory gives insight into this. The rejection of expertise is an example of an ‘hysteric discourse’ challenging a ‘university discourse’: the regime of experts. An hysteric discourse is a critique of rules imposed by experts by the subjects-subjected-to them. Hysteria can lead, in turn, to a ‘master discourse’ which rules through authority alone, without justification by external norms. I show how this helps explain the personality cult of love for Donald Trump. In addition, I suggest how these three discourses relate to law and jurisprudence.



First Page



Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand



Jurisprudence | Law | Law and Economics | Property Law and Real Estate



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