Reading Modern Law

Critical Methodologies and Sovereign Formations

Edited by Ruth Buchanan, Stewart Motha, Sundhya Pahuja

© 2012 – Routledge-Cavendish

228 pages

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About the Book

Reading Modern Law identifies and elaborates upon key critical methodologies for reading and writing about law in modernity. The force of law rests on determinate and localizable authorizations, as well as an expansive capacity to encompass what has not been pre-figured by an order of rules. The key question this dynamic of law raises is how legal forms might be deployed to confront and disrupt injustice. The urgency of this question must not eclipse the care its complexity demands. This book offers a critical methodology for addressing the many challenges thrown up by that question, whilst testifying to its complexity. The essays in this volume - engagements direct or oblique, with the work of Peter Fitzpatrick - chart a mode of resisting the proliferation of social scientific methods, as much as geo-political empire. The authors elaborate a critical and interdisciplinary treatment of law and modernity, and outline the pivotal role of sovereignty in contemporary formations of power, both national and international. From various overlapping vantage points, therefore, Reading Modern Law interrogates law's relationship to power, as well as its relationship to the critical work of reading and writing about law in modernity.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Incitement to justice: Fitzpatrick’s citations as counter-imperialism, Marianne Constable; 2. Reading Thomas Hobbes: Peter Fitzpatrick’s gentle deconstructionist style, James Martel; 3. Unconditional laws and ungovernable sovereigns, George Pavlich; 4.Democracy’s ruins, democracy’s archive, Paul A. Passavant; 5. Living in international law, Fleur Johns; 6. The World Trade Organization and Fitzpatrick’s ‘new constitutionalism’, Fiona Macmillan; 6. The World Trade Organization and Fitzpatrick’s ‘new constitutionalism’, Fiona Macmillan; 7. Derrida’s territorial knowledge of justice, William E. Conklin; 8. Reading Luther: Law, modernity and psychoanalysis, Judith Grbich; 9. Totemic immimanence: Peter Fitzpatrick’s liminal contemplation of law, Johan van der Walt; 10. ‘The obliging etymology of nomos’: Peter Fitzpatrick and the aesthetics of law, Carrol Clarkson; 11.Writing by firelight: Constructing an enduring consciousness of postcoloniality, Abdul Paliwala; 12. Reading slowly: The law of literature and the literature of law; Peter Fitzpatrick.

About the Editors

Ruth Buchanan is Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. She teaches and researches in the areas of globalization, international economic law, law and development, and political and social theory. She has published widely in international journals.

Stewart Motha is Reader in Law at Birkbeck, University of London, and Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study, South Africa. He has published widely on questions of postcolonial sovereignty, indigenous land rights, and political theology and democracy.

Sundhya Pahujais Professor of Law at the Melbourne Law School and Director of the Law and Development Research programme at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, University of Melbourne .Sundhya’s research is widely published, and focuses on the political economy of international law and institutions, jurisprudence and postcolonial theory.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Jurisprudence