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In this work in progress paper / seminar I will be discussing some elements of a project that is concerned with what I have dubbed ‘inducing intimacy’ – a term I have coined to refer to (i) the range of deceptions (broadly understood) that are deemed salient to the initiation or continuation of intimate relationships, defined as sexual and / or romantic relationships, and decisions about whether to participate in sexual activity and (ii) the failure to honour certain promises (explicit and implicit) that are pertinent to these contexts.

In the paper / seminar, I will set out the theoretical and methodological framework of this project and outline its core concepts and claims. In doing this, I will first explain why I think it is useful to consider this cluster of behaviours together and why it is beneficial to examine the legal responses they elicit in a syncretic (i.e. looking across different areas of law) and diachronic (i.e. looking at developments over time) way. I will then outline three lenses through which important changes in legal responses to these behaviours can be identified and interpreted. These lenses focus on the relationships between: intimacy and self-construction, sex and marriage (and intimate relationships more generally), and three senses of ‘public’ and ‘private’. Finally, I will argue that these three lenses and the developmental trajectories they pick out can help us understand what is wrong with, and typically harmful about, inducing intimacy and think critically about the role law plays, and should play, in responding to it.

Dr Chloë Kennedy is Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on intellectual and cultural legal history.