Postmodern Juriprudence: Contesting Genres
It has become a common place of contemporary legal theory, particularly postmodernist legal theory, to reject modernist jurisprudence's assumption of law's disciplinary autonomy. Within this enthusiasm for interdisciplinary approaches to law, what is less common is detailed analysis of precisely how interdisciplinarity is figured, rhetorically and epistemologically, in the discourse of contemporary legal theory. It is with a view to detailed analysis of this kind that this paper emerges. Its aim is to explore in detail how interdisciplinarity might be figured, and with what consequences, in the jurisprudence of postmodernity. The particular site of this exploration will be Costas Douzinas and Ronnie Warrington with Shaun McVeigh's Postmodern Jurisprudence: the Law of Text in the Texts of law. Published in 1991, this text remains widely influential - it has become a contemporary classic in its genre. It is not the intention of this paper, however, to represent this text as exemplary. Rather, this paper intends to read this text in its particularity, to focus on its particular vision of postmodern jurisprudence. Specifically, this paper argues that Postmodern Jurisprudence figures interdisciplinarity in terms of genre; and that this understanding of interdisciplinarity is problematised by the unacknowledged contradictions between the different conceptions of genre - one associated with Jacques Derrida and the other associated with Jean-Fran篩s Lyotard - which the text invokes. This paper argues that the project of postmodern jurisprudence - as title and as label - appears rather differently if it is imagined, on the one hand (following Derrida) according to the logic of the passe-partout and, on the other hand (following Lyotard), according to the logic of the differend. The paper concludes that this internal tension should at least give us pause for thought when approaching the complex phenomenon of interdisciplinarity in postmodern legal scholarship more generally.
Law and Critique