Legal Theory among the Ruins
In Search of Contemporary Legal Thought, ed. Justin Desautels-Stein and Christopher Tomlins (CUP, Forthcoming)
26 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 1, 2016
This paper responds to an ongoing discussion initiated by Duncan Kennedy concerning the identity of "contemporary legal thought." This contribution argues that that category is so hard to define or exemplify because the historical conditions for its possibility are lacking. The reason that there is no such thing as contemporary legal thought is the destructive contention of theories in the 1970s-90s, and in particular the contending options that caused the initial failure of critical legal studies. If this is true, no engagement with "contemporary legal thought" can fail to face the harsh truth that it simply may not exist, and hence that our main task is not to identify it but to bring it about.
Keywords: legal theory, critical legal studies, Duncan Kennedy, structuralism, Marxism
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