This article critically engages with a particular reading of Jacques Derrida's deconstructive legal theory which argues that his methodology marginalizes engagements with the socio-historical' of law at best or is incapable of such engagements at worst. After explaining this meta-ethical reading, the piece offers a retort via a broader and more in-depth reading of Derrida's legal theory. Here the article problematizes the distinction at the core of the meta-ethical reading; this being that Derrida's work established a mutually exclusive separation between a sociolegal' critique of law and one considered of critical legal theory'. This separation will be shown to be misleading by firstly referring to Derrida's essay Force of Law' and arguing that therein the sociolegal and critical legal' theories are in fact mutually dependant and that Derrida's concept of surenchere illustrates this. Secondly, a wider reading of Derrida's work will then illustrate that such a conceptual binary is incompatible with his deconstructive metaphysical critique. This will be evidenced with reference to what is argued to be the central point of the meta-ethical reading, something which is itself born from Derrida's work; this being the distinction between la and le politique, politics' and the political'. With due regard for the history of this important and complicated deconstructive distinction, it will be argued that the reductive reading in the meta-ethical critique does not do justice to the inherent paradox in maintaining a separation between sociolegal theory, la politique, and critical legal theory, le politique.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\School of Law
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-05-19