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Abstract

This symposium occupies the intersection of recent developments in the vicissitudes of critique. One is the ongoing discussion across the humanistic disciplines about whether critique—the standard mode of humanistic argument for decades—has had its day, or is in need of critique itself. And, more particularly, the symposium asks: how has this discussion been received in the domain of critical legal theory, if it has been received at all? A prominent thread in the pages that follow is a renewed question about the viability of Marxism—perhaps the ur-version of critique.

Ironically, Marxism has had a complex or even distant relation to the dominant modes of critique in recent decades, both inside and outside the legal academy. With another wave of interest in the 1960s, the Marxist theories that were emphasized as time passed tended to represent Marxism’s culturalist forms (pre-eminently the work of the Frankfurt School). But all varieties of Marxism suffered in relation to post-Marxist social thought, including various forms of poststructuralism. Yet especially since the economic crisis of 2008, many believe Marxism needs to come back—and in its economistic and even materialist forms—for legal critique to be “truly” possible.

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