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(A) Just Rhetoric?, 55 Mod. L. Rev. 746 (1992)


The collected essays in Postmodern Jurisprudence seek to apply postmodernist theories, and in particular deconstruction, to jurisprudence. The book's organising theme is an attack on what the authors describe as law's 'logonomocentrism,' a pun on the deconstructive term 'logocentrism.' 'Logocentrism' refers to the characteristic manoeuvre of philosophical projects that attempt to explain the world, justice or ethical norms in terms of 'concepts claimed to exist in themselves, complete, self-referring and proper' (p 10). These explanatory concepts are presented in opposition to others which, by comparison, are seen as inferior, deviate, peripheral, indirect, distorting or inessential. Thus distinction, the creation of an interior and exterior, or a centre and a periphery, is the characteristic logocentric device. Logocentric projects fail, deconstruction argues, because the concepts used for theoretical explanation always turn out to bear a curious relationship of mutual dependence as well as differentiation from the marginalised, deviate or excluded concepts.

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