Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Navel gazing

Well, seeing as I have revived this blog from limbo, it seems quite useful to take stock of where it’s been at over the past few years (!) and what I think it’s about now. When I first started this blog its aim was to try and jot down some of my theoretical musings on law. The consistent thread running across all of this was of course intended to be that of Marxism. To be honest, not that much has really changed since them. My primary object of theoretical analysis is still the law and my primary theoretical method is still that of Marxism.

That being said, there have been some fairly big shifts in my main theoretical interests. Firstly, whereas I previously nursed an interest in the American Legal Realists, this has largely subsided in recent times. I put this down to the fact that I got most of the Realists out of my system, and feel like I’ve done all I can with them. Also (and importantly) my interest in indeterminacy has shifted a bit towards (dum dum duuuuuummmmm) Carl Schmitt. I find Schmitt’s demolition of liberalism to be really quite interesting, and am hoping to write a little bit more on him. I’ve also found some interesting parallels between Schmitt and Pashukanis.

Secondly, my interest in the Critical Legal Studies movement has (for the moment) become more refocused on the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) movement. I have found TWAIL to be absolutely fascinating, and they’ve taught me things about the colonial history of international law that I never knew. I might (at some point) post a review of Antony Anghie’s Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law, one of my favourite TWAIL books. Thirdly, I have really rekindled my interest in ‘bourgeois’ theories of law, and the place of legal theory in classical liberalism. My reacquaintance with Hobbes (who I think is wonderful) has been quite fruitful.

The biggest change, though is my overall, strategic orientation to questions of theory and of the law. Increasingly I have viewed my work as structured by an overall project. You can see twinges of this in my (somewhat inebriated) post, here. Essentially, I am trying to articulate a theoretical position that goes beyond simple r-r-revolutionary trashing of the law, and acceptance of the idea that law is neutral instrument through which any old interest can be articulated. This was basically the content of my presentation to the Historical Materialism Conference, and it has caused me to re-think some of my positions (particularly regarded China Miéville’s Between Equal Rights). Anyway, long may it continue.

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